My Summer of Sauce


Due to my daughters employment at a local produce stand this summer,  baskets of super-ripe, second-hand tomatoes (covered by a kitchen towel to keep the fruit flies at bay) are a regular in the landscape of my kitchen. But unlike apples, oranges or pears, that lay patiently waiting to be eaten or cooked in a pie, these super soft juicy tomatoes  are impatient and restless, itchy to plunge into a saucepan of sauteed onions for a fresh sauce , or  a blender with cucumber for a cooling gazpacho. No, there isn’t another day for these juicy red orbs.

So I’ve coined this my “summer of sauce,” which has been perpetually simmering on the back of the stove. I’m sure there are better or more elaborate recipes for sauce, but I can’t find one that suits me better. I don’t use tomato paste or any thickener here so this is a fresh chunky sauce with bits of colorful tomatoes about. I crush the tomatoes with my hands, to capture all the juice. The other ingredients are simple, basil from my garden, an onion, a red bell pepper for sweetness, and a splash of vinegar, salt and sugar and some raw garlic to punch it up. It’s a multi-purpose sauce–that with a dose of heavy cream and fresh basil morphs into creamy tomato basil soup or with chunks of fresh mozzarella and croutons, a gazpacho.  Or jars of sauce to wait patiently in the freezer all winter. Enjoy.


Simple Tomato Sauce

1 onion, chopped

1 small carrot, grated or 1 red bell pepper, chopped

10 super ripe, juicy tomatoes, crushed (about 12 cups)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves crushed garlic

handful chopped fresh basil

1. Saute the onions and carrot or red pepper in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes. Simmer about 35 minutes or until thick. Add remaining ingredients. Cook 5 minutes more.

For creamy tomato basil soup, add 1/2 cup heavy cream to 4 cups tomato sauce.

Check out these other recipes that use tomato sauce at

Cheese and Zucchini Stuffed Manicotti

Caprese in a Bowl

Shrimp with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta


One thought on “My Summer of Sauce

  1. Jill, you have turned some mighty mis-shapened tomatoes into a beautiful sauce. I got inspired by your blog when it popped up on my phone over the weekend and made a batch of freezer tomato sauce using some of the tomatoes we had left over from our Relish photo shoot last week and other tomatoes friends and family gave me. I just mixed them all together and basically followed your recipe…Great recipe for easy saucy Saturdays! Thanks for the inspiration.

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