Summer Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce is here! Right around this time I start complaining that I have “too many” tomatoes, but secret be told, I like it when my garden gives me too much and I have to figure out how to get creative. Seasonal is everything to me, you might even see it in my online cooking classes I have been doing all summer long and this recipe is the epitome of summer.
I have been whipping up this Summer Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce for years. When tomato season is in full swing and my counters literally can’t hold another tomato, I get to work. Besides, is there any better match than fresh tomatoes and basil? It’s a match made in heaven.
I slice a big red onion, smash a few cloves of garlic, chop up a big bunch of fresh basil (also from the garden) and slice up as many San Marzano tomatoes that will fit in the pan. The last of my garden eggplant might make it into the pan as well.
I saute the onion and garlic with a healthy amount of fruity olive oil, some coarse salt and pepper until the onions are turning translucent and soft and then throw in the tomatoes. I let those cook down for a while longer, letting up their juices and really blending naturally into a sauce. The tomatoes hold their own and this sauce has texture, unlike traditional tomato sauces. In goes any other vegetables and the basil, maybe a splash of balsamic vinegar.I can’t get enough of this rustic, straight from the garden sauce, so I had to share. Tonight I served my Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce with shrimp and whole wheat pasta, a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan and rave reviews from the whole family.
Don’t grow your own tomatoes? No problem, simply go to any farmer’s market and select smaller tomatoes. Big tomatoes are excellent for a slower cooked sauce, sandwiches are eaten on their own, but smaller ones like cherry or san Marzano are perfect for this recipe. Enjoy, this might become a new favorite for you too.
Summer Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
2 generous tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 small eggplant, diced
4 pounds cherry tomatoes or san Marzano tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 8 cups, or more if you like)
1 large bunch fresh basil, stems removed and sliced
1-2 splashes balsamic vinegar
1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until it begins to get soft and translucent. Add in garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds more. Sprinkle in the dried oregano.
2. Add the eggplant and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, incorporating them with the other vegetables. Bring the heat down to a strong simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes have gotten very soft and saucey.
3. Stir in the basil with the vinegar. Taste the sauce and sprinkle in a little more salt and pepper if you need to. Serve over a whole grain or a as a topping for fish or chicken.