Thursday, July 25, 2013

Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

I found a wee teeny eggplant at our farmer's market on Friday, and thought I'd do some eggplant parmesan bites.  Only thing, I forgot that I was out of spaghetti sauce.  Whoops.  Fortunately the week prior to this at the farmer's market I had bought a pint of cherry tomatoes.

Side note:  Don't fall for the myth that anything home grown, organic, or local is more expensive than grocery store fare.  I got my pint of 'maters for $0.75, just as beautiful and perfect as could be.  The stores I grace have wrinkly, sometimes even molded right in the package, sad looking pints of tomatoes for about $3.  Go local!

Anyway, after sitting in the fridge for a week, they were just now starting to get a little tender, and I figured they'd be perfect for sauce!  This recipe is enough sauce for a meal for two, or a few servings of pizza sauce.  It won't feed an army, but it will feed a few!  Here's what I did.

In a small pan combine about a tablespoon of olive oil and up to 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, depending on your love of the stuff.  I can't imagine my life without ajo.  It's a pretty significant love affair.

These are the cherry tomatoes, plus a few roma I considered adding in.  In the end I decided to stick with the pint, as that's a pretty standard way to buy and measure cherry tomatoes.  I always hated it when a recipe would call for, say, a pint and a 3rd.  Or, I dunno, what's really inconvenient to portion?  Well whatever you come up with, that.  That's what they would split into 5/8ths.  I tried to spare you of that.

I halved and quartered mine willy nilly, as I saw fit.  You could certainly give these a fine chop, or even a few pulses in a food processor.  Personally, I enjoy the fanciness and flavor of having real texture in the sauce.

You want to cook this on medium low, and keep it covered, stirring occasionally.  I added about a half of a small sweet onion, diced.  This is not necessary, but it adds great flavor.

Here I added basil, salt, pepper, sugar, and a mess of other spices.  Then I remembered that the equally-kickass neighbors that live on the other side of our house have been growing basil and offered it to us anytime we need it!

The fresh basil isn't necessary, but it is just so delicious and pungent.  This is how much I used, but my sauce was pretty powerful.

Give the basil a good chop and throw it in.  At this point you need to stop.  Once the tomatoes have really started to give off some water, you can take the lid off your pot.  Just keep an eye on it, as you don't want your pan to go dry.

And do this.  After your sauce has simmered for about 20 minutes, you need to come to a stopping point and decide what you're likely going to use this for.  If it's to toss with pasta, you can easily just stop here.  English muffin pizzas also.  (This was cray good.)

However, as noted, I was making eggplant parm;  I ended up cooking my sauce down further, about 7 or 8 minutes.  The consistency is up to you. 

If I hadn't made 3 english muffin pizzas, I probably would have had a half pint of sauce. 

Boo approved!

Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

-1 pint cherry tomatoes
-1/4 C diced sweet onion
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tbsp minced garlic
-1/2 tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp basil
-1/2 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
-1/4 tsp pepper
-3-4 fresh basil leaves (optional)
-1/4 tsp sage (optional)
-1/8 tsp rosemary (optional)

1.  In a small pan, roast garlic in olive oil over medium low heat.  Dice tomatoes and onions, combine in pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients and heat covered for 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to give up their juices and flavors begin to combine.

2.  Remove lid from pan and continue simmering until sauce reaches desired consistency, about 20-30 minutes.

My eggplant parm was delicious!  This sauce is pretty easy and incredibly flavorful, I hope you enjoy!

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