We are drowning in abundance. It happens every August if you garden or belong to a CSA; there are so many tomatoes, so many peppers, so much zucchini….it all gets lost in the fridge faster than you can cook it!
So, with pick-up coming the next day and a fridge full of last week’s haul getting ugly, I took as much as I could and cooked it down into sauce – some for now and some for the freezer, in small containers that will make a fast meal when school starts and dinner needs to be now and lunch needs to be ready the night before. I have freezer-packing panic!
Blanche! (Tennessee Williams moment)
Here is an Everything Must Get Used Before Our Next Pick-Up tomato sauce recipe. I used SunGolds, cherries, paste tomatoes, slicers, heirlooms, anything that had been sitting all week getting sad.
How-to for blanching tomatoes follows the recipe….
Everything Must Go Pasta Sauce
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
(Optional bits and bobs: half a zucchini, a bit of eggplant – bung in anything that will cook down soft and not mess up the overall color too much — chopped small).
6 lbs tomatoes (paste tomatoes preferred, but I used an incredible mix), cored, blanched and peeled*
1 Tbs dried oregano and thyme (2 Tbs if using fresh)
¼ Cup red wine
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot at medium high until liquid and fragrant. Lower heat to medium and add the following vegetables one at a time, stirring to coat before adding the next: onions, garlic, peppers, carrots, celery. Cook at medium (or lower if you have time) until vegetables are soft and translucent, at least five minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add herbs and wine and lower to a lively simmer. Cook down for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The more you cook it, the smoother it will get, but also the more dense. Add water 1/4 Cup at a time as desired.
(Optional step: Using an immersion blender, liquefy the sauce to desired smoothness)
Correct seasoning and serve over pasta/freeze for later! Will keep three months in the freezer.
To blanch, keep reading!
A pile of peels
*To blanch and peel tomatoes: Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes (take out the stem and white core with a paring knife) and prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the water boils, drop tomatoes in. In two minutes (or less) you will see the skin begin to peel back or split. Remove each tomato as this happens and drop in ice water. When tomatoes have cooled, take them out of the ice water and peel (the skin should come off easily). They are then ready to cook down, or freeze in freezer bags for later use (later can be as long as next spring! and you don’t have to peel them if you are freezing for later use).