Garden Fresh Marinara – The Simple Kind

Last year, kale and cucumbers ruled our garden. This year, while little white moths enjoyed our kale, we ate cukes ’till we were sick of them and picked tons of tomatoes. Beautiful red cherry and black cherry tomatoes and a larger variety called Rose de Berne that grew huge and plentiful. We harvested the remaining fruits this week, and advised by a local farmer, wrapped the still green ones in tissue paper and stored them in our cool basement.

tomato crop

I wanted to make a simple marinara out of our tomatoes but most of the recipes called for boiling, peeling and seeding the tomatoes, which sounded entirely un-simple.  I was psyched when Chef Anthony Camilleri from our local Rizzuto’s Restaurant & Bar shared his fresh marinara recipe on NBC Connecticut’s Taste of Today a few weekends ago.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, reducing the garlic and onions to my family’s liking.  It’s fantastic and just the really, truly simple kind of sauce I was looking for. I used mostly my beefy tomatoes with a few cherry tomatoes mixed in.  I’ve made it twice and now have a nice stash in my freezer.  Tomatoes are aplenty at the farm stands around here so it is not too late to make a few big batches.

tomato sauce

Garden Fresh Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

5 large local tomatoes, in season (or a good imported brand, canned)

8 large garlic cloves

1 medium Spanish onion

handful of fresh basil (chopped)

2oz EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Directions

Slice garlic cloves thin and toast in the EVOO until lightly golden brown. Julienne the Spanish onion (if you are pureeing the sauce, you can get away with a larger chop) and add to garlic along with fresh basil and if you like some spice, a small pinch of chili flakes.

Cook on medium heat stirring every few minutes for 15 minutes until the onions are cooked down and lightly caramelized.

Cut the fresh tomatoes into a large dice and add to the pot with the kosher salt.

Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes the tomatoes will begin to soften and the sauce will reduce.

rustic tomato sauce

Continue to cook on low for a final 15 minutes.  Add kosher salt to taste.

At this point you can serve the Marinara sauce as-is or puree in a blender or food processor for a smoother consistency.

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