Growing up, I assumed when everyone went to their grandparents house they were welcomed by cabinets upon cabinets (and the pantry) stocked FULL of tomato sauce. I would open one cabinet door after another, looking for a glass to pour water into, only to find glass jars filled to the brim with tomato sauce.
Isn’t that what your grandma’s kitchen is filled with?
So when I came home with (an additional) 5 lbs. of fresh tomatoes from our CSA and no clue what to do with them, I put on my
thinking cap apron, pulled out my antique strainer that was actually a wedding gift to my grandparents (!), and thought about what my Italian Grandmother would do.
After staring at the bowl of shiny red tomatoes for a moment, I pulled back my hair, rolled-up my sleeves and started making my first batch of homemade tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes! My Grandma is full-blooded Italian, 100% sweet and has an ability to whip-up and entire meal for anyone who walks through their front door. I have a feeling she may have once used this strainer for a similar recipe.
I do admit the process was pretty laborious, however it was actually easier that I anticipated. Maybe because I wasn’t making enough sauce to get me through the entire winter and feed over 10 hungry bellies, I was able to create sauce from start to finish in about 2 hours.
While I would love to say I used this sauce atop fresh homemade raviolis, like my grandmother could boast, I decided to serve it with another CSA veggie: spaghetti squash. They were the perfect compliment to one another, and the chunky sauce paired beautifully with the stringy noodles.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Keywords: saute entree side vegetarian vegan tomato Italian fall summer
- 4 pounds tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 to 3 small cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Oregano, to taste
- Fresh basil, to taste
- Fresh parsley, to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While water is coming to a boil, cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds then place in colander and rinse under cold water (see photo above) or place in ice water bath. Peel the tomatoes, discarding the skins.
2. Cut tomatoes in quarters (if suing plum tomato or other small variety, just cut them in half). Place a bowl under a strainer to reserve juices; squeeze the seeds out of tomatoes over a strainer. (I would recommend doing this in the kitchen sink with towels nearby, as it gets messy!). Coarsely chop tomatoes.
3. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Cook onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to gently simmer. The tomatoes should be tender at this point. Using a potato masher (or fork) and gently break-up/mash tomatoes as they cook. Continue to simmer for about 30-40 minutes. If needed, add reserved tomato juice as needed until you reach desired consistency. Mix in seasonings, serve and enjoy!
In addition to my love of fresh tomato sauce, another “foodie” habit I inherited from my Italian genes is dipping fresh bread in olive oil. When Nudo Italia contacted me to try their Extra Virgin Olive Oil Stone Ground with Lemons, I knew exactly what I would use this for: ripping off pieces of bread from a fresh baguette and dipping it in this smooth, citrusy liquid. The flavor was fresh and vibrant; I really enjoyed the extra burst of flavor from the lemons, while it still holds the consistency of olive oil. I imagine this would be excellent to use in making a light sauce for pasta or simply to drizzle over a fresh salad!
Nudo oil is handmade by a co-op of producers in Le Marche, Italy. The product I was able to try is made with a traditional Italian method where they stone-crush the whole lemons together with the olives! In addition to the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Stone Ground with Lemons, they also have several other products including Olive Oil with Mandarins, Olive Oil with Basil and Olive Oil Soap!
~What foods have your grandparents inspired you to make and/or eat?