Welcome! If you’re just coming aboard now, I’ve been doing a three-part series on end-of-summer harvest recipes. This is the third installment, and perhaps the easiest. But it’s my annual staple. It’s the one item I aim to make every late summer because, come January, nothing rivals the summery freshness locked into a simple garden harvest sauce.
We planted six or seven varieties of tomatoes this summer in all shapes, colors and sizes. They’re still coming. Some are super-sweet, others are prettier than they are flavorful. I took a big bowl of them all (my bad: I didn’t measure; probably, roughly, 16 cups?). The point is: you want as many summer sweet tomatoes as you can find. More will never hurt you, in this recipe.
Now, before we begin, remember two things about this sauce: 1) It’s quick and easy to make, and that’s the key. This isn’t your simmer-for-hours sauce that eats into your entire weekend. This is your get-those-tomatoes-processed-now sauce, which still tastes great whenever you open the jar. 2) This is not meant to be a thick, hearty spaghetti-style sauce. This is a BASE sauce aimed at bringing summer flavor to your winter meals. Use it in tomato-based soups, stews, pasta dishes or whatever you want. It will be thin in consistency, but big in flavor.
Take all your cleaned tomatoes and put them in a food processor. Purée. Set aside.
Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and sauté a thinly sliced red onion (or 2 or 3, depending on size and the number of tomatoes you have and your liking of onion). When the onion is nicely browned but not burnt or bitter, add a few minced garlic cloves. Stir and remove soon from the heat. Do not burn the garlic or it will turn bitter. You want no bitterness in this sauce.
Mix together the tomatoes, garlic and onion. Add salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Heat on the stovetop until the sauce just begins to simmer for a minute or two at most. Control the heat. Remove. That’s it. Use immediately, freeze or can. If you choose the latter, try this in winter when all thoughts of summer are far away. As I said, the sauce will be thin; mix with whatever other ingredients you prefer. But the tomato-ey flavor should take you right back to the garden in September.