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  • Writer's pictureCampbell Whitman

End of Summer Cherry Tomato Sauce

The last summer harvest gives us a bounty of wonderful ingredients that we are all sure to miss. Peaches, corn, watermelon and tomatoes shape the summer flavors in ways that can never be as full of flavor when purchased in the off-season months. Whatever you choose to harvest, it will be the last time you will be tasting one of the major flavors of summer which brings complete happiness through its warmth, and which helps both our happiness and produce grow. And, if you grow it yourself....even better!

End of Summer Cherry Tomato Sauce

serves 6

870 g cherry tomatoes (or other tomatoes)

17 g crushed garlic

2 T olive oil

4 T tomato paste

100 g tapenade from a mix of sun-dried tomatoes & olives (from a jar is ok!)

150 g chopped onions

1 1/2 t Italian seasoning

1 full handful of basil leaves


160 ml red wine

Cut the tomatoes in half. If you are using larger tomatoes, you should cut them in smaller pieces. In this recipe you can leave the skin on because it gets a quick purée in the end. It makes for a very smooth sauce that coats all sorts of pasta brilliantly.

In a hot pot on medium heat with oil, drop your onions and cook for a few minutes (3-5) until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and stir well. Let this cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. Nothing in the pot should brown or burn, so take precaution with the heat. Next, add the tapenade & tomato paste. Stir well to incorporate. The heat wakes up the flavors, enhancing your dish. After 1 minute of mixing, add the wine and cook without a lid until it reduces by maybe about half. This doesn't take too long if it's bubbling above a simmer. Finally add the tomatoes, season it with salt & pepper and give it one good stir. Cover with a lid and let cook for a few more minutes.

Now, pay attention here, with the lid on and holding it down in place with one hand, while simultaneously holding the handle of the pot with your other hand, swirl the pot around, stirring it without removing the lid. Keeping the heat/moisture inside helps break down the tomatoes. After a few more minutes, remove the lid and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the Italian seasoning and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on. The liquid should NOT be escaping from the pot. It should all stay inside, thus keeping it moist and preventing the sauce from burning. This requires a good seal from the lid of the pot. When I open the pot, I let the condensation on the lid fall back into the pot, keeping it hydrated. Check it from time to time during the 15-20 minutes to make sure it isn't drying out. If it is, add a little water.

Once finished, throw in your basil and purée with a hand blender or standing blender till smooth. Check the seasoning once more before serving.

Serve atop anything you desire. Pasta, meat, zucchini pancakes are just some suggestions.


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