Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good Gravy!

Hello my friends! We are now into week 4 of the Confreda CSA. Are you loving it as much as I am? Each week is a new adventure and this week's box did not disappoint.  The picture below has all the makings of a ratatouille, a homemade tomato sauce, stir fried veggies on the grill, a brushchetta and a pesto. It's an Italian (or not) home cook's dream come true!

Just a few of my favorite things:
Zucchini, cukes, peppers, basil, parsley, tomatoes, eggplant
This week at Confreda's they are running a buy one get one free on select pastas so it's only right that we post a recipe for the pasta topping. What is better than a fresh tomato sauce prepared exclusively with Confreda's garden tomatoes? Now, you probably call it "sauce" but where I come from, it's "gravy". Way back I posted a recipe to make your own gravy using canned tomatoes but this recipe uses only the fresh kind.

One school of thought tells you to peel the skins of the tomatoes before using them and de-seed the tomatoes. Personally, I skip this step and find that once you cook the tomatoes down, the skin and seeds are not that noticeable and adds some texture to the gravy. Your choice.

To remove the skins:
Boil a pot of water. Cut a little cross hatch (shallow cut) on the stem end of each tomato and drop into the water for about 30 seconds. Let them cool a bit and the skins should peel off easily when pulled from the edges of the hatch mark.

Good Gravy!
(aka. Fresh Tomato Sauce)
It's so easy, it's almost embarrassing that I am posting this as a "recipe".
I like to keep mine very simple.
5-6 good sized tomatoes chopped
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
1 TBS dried oregano
fresh basil leaves (approx 1/4 cup)
grated cheese (optional)
1. In a large skillet heated on low, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the garlic but be sure not to brown it as this will destroy the taste of the garlic and the sauce.
2. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and oregano.
3. Cook this down for about 20 minutes, or more. You can stir occasionally and keep it covered on med low heat. The longer you cook it, the more concentrated the tomato flavor.
Check the flavor and adjust seasoning as needed. Does it need a pinch of sugar? Then add it!
4. After the sauce has reached a nice consistency, you can add fresh basil. If you don't like the "chunkiness" of the sauce, you can transfer to a blender or food processor to smooth it out. For me, the chunks are what sets this apart from a "canned sauce" and brings the farm flavor home!

Optional additions: Saute some chopped onions and diced carrots until tender before adding the garlic.
Top your favorite pasta with your Good Gravy and some grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

No comments: