Heirloom Tomato Sauce

(Yields about 12 cups)


Now And Later
Tomatoes at their peak have few rivals.  Capturing their flavor beyond their season is a treat.  This recipe allows you to enjoy the current harvest of heirloom tomatoes now, and pack some sauce away in the freezer for the winter months.  Halving or doubling the recipe yields the same wonderful results.  

1/4 cup olive oil, plus additional
2 red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cored and            quartered or halved
2 tsp salt, plus additional
1 tsp pepper, plus additional
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano     
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Stir often, taking care not to let the edges of the onions brown.  

Add remaining ingredients and partially cover the pot with a lid.  Once the contents come to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain a low simmer.  Cook for about thirty minutes, until tomatoes break apart very easily with a wooden spoon.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Add about 2 tablespoons more olive oil, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Blend a little more.  (Alternately, allow to cool a bit, then carefully puree in a blender.)  Cool completely.  Portion into plastic containers and freeze.  

Yogurt tubs work just as well as plastic storage containers. Label and date the lids.  Include serving size or volume amount on the label.  For best flavor and quality, use the sauce within 6 months of freezing. 

Prior to cooking with the frozen sauce, allow it to thaw on the kitchen counter.   Or, run it under hot water so that you can pop it out of its container.  Put the frozen sauce in a lidded pot, over very low heat  until it thaws completely.

Think of this sauce as a pantry staple from your freezer.  In its simplest form, toss it with pasta and shower it with freshly grated parmesan cheese for a comforting meal.  Dress it up with olives, capers and anchovies to make puttanesca sauce.  Jump start a bolognese sauce when you add it to browned ground beef.  Just a few ideas to get your wheels turning.

view related blog post:  You Say Tomato