Homemade Tomato Sauce

Fall’s gradually rolling in and it seems the second that happens everyone’s appetite changes from light to heavy. Could be the return to school for some, maybe the fact that summer is gone for another year, but either way a salad for dinner isn’t cutting it this September. My summer harvest (I guess you could call it that, when I say “harvest” I mean various things I grew in my backyard) is still giving me lots of veggies to work with. This week I had a lot of cherry tomatoes to spare so I went with something simple and classic; tomato sauce. I don’t usually stray far from the Ragu-type stuff on a regular pasta night but somehow after tasting this I don’t think that will do.

I adapted this recipe from Chez Pim’s 15-Minute Tomato Sauce recipe and I was lucky enough to have 2 of my best friends helping me out with the food/photos although there was some eye-rolling at how many photos I needed to take of one thing.

Here’s the short list of ingredients you need:

  • 2-4 pounds of cherry tomatoes (I didn’t quite have enough to reach 4 pounds so I cracked open a can of tomatoes to complete the recipe, this worked just fine)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

To making peeling your tomatoes as quick and painless as possible, bring water to a low boil and make an “x” shape on the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife. Once all the tomatoes have been lightly cut, place them in the water for 2 minutes. The skin of the tomato where the “x” mark was made should be curling outwards slightly. Remove the tomatoes from the heat and rinse them with cold water.

Once the tomatoes are at a touchable temperature, peel the skins off gently either with your fingers or a knife, whatever you are more comfortable with. I personally just did this over the sink and tossed the remains afterwards because juices drip everywhere.

Now this next step is a matter of personal taste so it’s not a necessity to the recipe. If you like your sauce runny, you can skip this and move onto the next paragraph. If you like your sauce a little more viscous and simmered, squeeze all of your tomatoes over the sink to release most of the seeds and inside contents. You can discard any skins/seeds at this point.

By now you should just have a big bowl of skinned tomatoes. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and toss in the garlic to simmer for a minute or two. Add in tomatoes, salt and pepper and let simmer for 2 more minutes until juices begin to build up in the pan. With a slotted spoon (or just being careful with a regular spoon) remove the tomato chunks and allow the juices in the pan to reduce for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes back into the pan along with fresh basil, chili flakes and balsamic vinegar.

You can mix the cheese into the sauce or grate it on top, I did both because I am a fiend for parmesan. If you are making pasta along with it just toss it all together in the pan for a minute or two then devour.

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