Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fresh-ish Tomato Sauce

I really wanted to try my hand at a saucy fresh tomato sauce using tomatoes from the farmer's market for tonight's dinner. The problem is that most fresh sauces take at least 45 minutes and I figured that would make for another too-late dinner. So I searched the internet and discovered a recipe for 15-minute tomato sauce. I was sold!

This did not take me 15 minutes.

I think it took about 8 minutes to get the tomato skins and seeds off. Beware, when you squeeze the tomatoes out to rid them of their seeds it sounds like you're kissing someone. So make it clear your method before the madness starts.

Then I did the rest of the steps and I couldn't get the sauce part to thicken. Meanwhile I defrosted some meat in the microwave and browned it to add it to the sauce. Once I decided I'd tried thickening for long enough, I added the tomato pulp back in, some spices, half a can of canned tomato sauce, some tomato paste and some spices. The pasta was ready then and I decided to serve instead of waiting in hope it would thicken. The flavors were all there but the sauce was a little runny...we had to eat some of the pasta with our spoons.

Fresh-ish Tomato Sauce
~1lb fresh tomatoes of any variety, I used roma but then I realized I should've purchased those damaged tomatoes they sell, whatever.
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t tomato paste
1/2 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1/2lb lean ground beef or turkey
Pasta for serving

1. Heat water in a large pot until hot. Meanwhile, cut x's in the bottom of your tomatoes. When you're done drop the tomatoes into the hot water. Let sit about 30-40 seconds. Remove the tomatoes without draining the water and rinse under cold water. Peel the skins off from the crosses and cut the green crow out with a sharp knife. Squeeze the tomatoes into the sink to extract some of the juice and the seeds. Repeat.
2. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and smash with a potato masher to break up big chunks. Add a good dose of salt. Let cook 2 minutes or so over medium heat until the pulp separates from the juices.
3. In another pan, begin to brown the meat over medium heat, breaking up into small chunks.
4. Remove the pulpy tomatoes from the sauce with a slotted spoon to a bowl, set aside. Cook the sauce until it thickens about 2-3 minutes. If it doesn't thicken, just go to step 6 anyway.
5. Bring your same large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a large dose of salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions
6. Add the pulpy tomatoes, browned meat, oregano and salt back to the sauce pan. Add tomato sauce and paste as well. Give it a nice stir and let it cook until the pasta is done. If you're lucky, it will thicken. In the last minute before serving add the basil to the top of the sauce and let wilt in the heat.
7. Serve sauce over pasta

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