Fresh Tomato Sauce
September, 2006

Serves 6 / Serving tips: Toss this versatile, slightly spicy sauce over al dente pasta or steamed vegetables; garnish with top-quality Parmesan cheese. Or thicken with tomato paste and use as pizza sauce. Variations: For a heartier meat sauce, add 1 pound browned Italian sausage. For spicy puttanesca, increase red pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon, and add 1/2 cup sliced black olives, 1/4 cup drained capers, and 2 minced anchovies. Make-ahead tip: This sauce freezes well to provide a taste of summer when the snow flies.

3 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes (to make 4 cups chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped or minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. With a paring knife, scoop out the stem and cut an X through the skin on the bottom of each tomato. Drop tomatoes, a few at a time, into water for 10–15 seconds. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon; transfer to a bowl or sink filled with ice water. When cool, remove skins (they should slip off easily); halve tomatoes and remove seeds, then chop to make 4 cups.
2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender but not browned. Add 2 cups of the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in remaining chopped tomatoes and fresh basil; heat through. Store up to one week in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer.

PER SERVING: 77 cal, 31% fat cal, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg chol, 2g protein, 13g carb, 3gfiber, 209mg sodium