Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tomatoes and Basil

I've been overwhelmed with tomatoes and basil lately but to clarify, I don't necessarily consider that to be a bad thing. I've been looking at recommendations for tomato sauce they all say to remove the skin and seed the tomatoes before making sauce but frankly, that sounds like a waste of time and nutrients to me.

My basil is still going strong and I've also got some fresh oregano out in the garden and I want to preserve those flavors of summer for the long winter ahead. I've got pesto in the freezer as well as some chopped basil I've frozen in water in ice cube trays to see if it holds up for future use.

I have only a few tomato plants so I pick them every few days but I like to have enough tomatoes to make the processing time worthwhile so I toss the whole tomatoes in the freezer until I have enough to make a good sized batch of sauce. And why make plain old tomato sauce when I can make marinara sauce and derivations of marinara instead? That saves work when I need a quick dinner.

Tomato, Basil, and Summer Squash Sauce

2 medium onions, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil for sauteing
Approximately 10 good sized tomatoes, diced large, centers removed
3 small summer squashes, diced
1 large bunch of basil, washed and removed from stems
handful of fresh oregano, washed and removed from stems
Cayenne Pepper

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Add squash and saute for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook until the sauce is to the desired consistency at medium heat stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add the fresh herbs and cayenne, then puree the sauce (I use an immersion blender).

I'm hoping this will freeze well and not lose it's fresh herb flavors over time. The fresh sauce is very good. I bet it would make a spectacular lasagna.

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