When tomatoes ripen, try peak season sauce

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen, and I made my first batch of sauce this week. I had been feeling anxious about it because I made fresh tomato sauce for the first time last year, and it was very, very runny.

Then I started reading sauce recipes online and realized that you need plum tomatoes to make a reasonably thick sauce. So, for this year’s garden, I ordered San Marzano 15 and Juliet seeds from Johnny’s. Those were great seeds. I had a terrible time getting anything to germinate in my apartment in Chicago. It was too cold and drafty near the windows and too dark away from them. My condo in Milwaukee had a window seat with mirrored sides that worked like a greenhouse. Boy, did I miss that.

Anyway, while the other tomato varieties wouldn’t germinate or threw up sickly looking seedlings, San Marzano and Juliet sprouted into something that actually gave me a hope of a harvest. They are now ripening quickly, and I got my first basketful this week, along with a few of the heirloom tomatoes.

I decided to make Peak Season Tomato Sauce from You Say Tomato by Joanne Weir. It’s simple, calling for only tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil, all of which I had from the garden. It came out wonderfully too, with a much thicker texture and a fresh, sweet taste.

To make it, you need:

4 pounds of plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half

1 red onion

6 cloves of garlic

3 sprigs of basil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until tomatoes collapse, about 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick, about an hour to 1 1/2 hours. Puree in a food processor.

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