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Mama’s Kitchen: Fresh Tomato Sauce 2 Ways (Raw & Cooked)


Summer in the kitchen means one thing – fresh tomatoes!  I can’t get enough of tomatoes right now.  Every week I go to my local farmer’s market and buy a few pounds of tomatoes.  It looks like a lot and I wonder if I’ll be able to use them all but sure enough by the end of the week they’re gone and I can’t wait to go back to the farmer’s market.

I have posted several tomato sauce recipes before – I make a few different kinds and I’m always trying new recipes.  To someone not familiar with Italian food maybe all tomato sauce is the same.  But for me, they are all subtley different and have their time and place.  When I received my issue of Fine Cooking in the mail and it included not one, but two fresh tomato sauce recipes, I was ready to try them.

Both recipes yield enough for one pound of pasta.

Raw Fresh Tomato Sauce

The first recipe is for Raw Fresh Tomato Sauce  – that’s right, the tomatoes are not cooked.  This recipe is so easy and really delicious.  I especially like it for summer because the raw tomatoes add a lightness to what would otherwise be a heavy dish.

raw fresh tomato sauce

3 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt

Cut a 1/4-inch slice from the tops of the tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes with a vegetable peeler, using a zig-zag motion, halve them crosswise, and remove and discard the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the basil and oregano.

Just before serving, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 1-quart saucepan until shimmering hot (but not smoking); pour over the tomato mixture, add 2 tsp. salt, and mix well. Toss with cooked pasta and serve.

Cooked Fresh Tomato Sauce

The second recipe is for Cooked Fresh Tomato Sauce.  It’s a very similar recipe, but the tomatoes are cooked down to give you a rich dish that’s full of flavor.  I did make a few tweaks to this recipe – I had to add basil because I can’t see tomato sauce without basil and I added some red pepper flakes for a kick.

cooked fresh tomato sauce

3 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic (2 medium cloves)
Fine sea salt

Peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop them.

Put 4 Tbs. of the olive oil, the parsley, and garlic in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When the garlic and parsley begin to sizzle, add the tomatoes and 1-3/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and are thick and saucy, 35 to 70 minutes, depending on how much liquid the tomatoes release. Toss with cooked pasta and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and serve.

The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, reheat and toss with cooked pasta and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.

The beauty of these recipes is that they are great starting points and you can add any of your favorite flavors to elevate the dishes.

Buon Appetito!

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