Remember last fall when I made and froze tomato sauce using garden tomatoes? Well, I used it last night to make Baked Conchiglione. It was so good! Do yourself a favor: next summer go to the farmer’s market and buy a bunch of tomatoes (or grow your own!) and make this sauce!
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I have been patiently hoarding my San Marzano tomatoes until I harvested enough to make this homemade tomato sauce. It’s a very tasty sauce that is perfect for tossing with pasta or making Baked Conchiglione with Spinach-Ricotta Filling.
Start with perfectly-ripe plum tomatoes and cook them down until they are thick and saucy. I got to use my food mill to purée the tomatoes and remove the seeds and skins. If you don’t have a food mill you can press the tomatoes through a sieve to accomplish the same thing.
Next, aromatic vegetables are sautéed slowly in olive oil until sweet and tender. Add the tomato purée and seasoning and simmer for a few more minutes to blend the flavors.
Toss with a pound of cooked pasta and a half cup grated Parmesan cheese.
I froze my sauce to make the stuffed pasta shells in a couple of months when the garden tomatoes are long gone. Of course I had a little taste before putting it in the freezer, and the sauce was wonderfully sweet and tomato-y!
This recipe comes from Pasta Harvest by Janet Fletcher.
Summer Tomato Sauce
- 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup minced carrot
- 1/3 cup minced celery
- 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- Pinch hot red pepper flakes, optional
- Pinch sugar, optional
Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes have collapsed and rendered their juices, about 15 minutes. Stir once or twice to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan. Uncover and cook over a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have been reduced to a thick, sauce-like consistency, about 45 minutes. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or sieve placed over a bowl to remove the skins and seeds.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and sweet. This will take about 30 minutes. Add the tomato purée and stir to blend. Season with salt. Add the red pepper flakes, if desired. Taste for sweetness and add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes seem too tart. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Makes about 2 cups sauce.