Tomato season 2022 is finally here and I’ve been craving this fresh and simple pasta sauce for weeks now, so I’m guessing I’m not alone in wanting a good bowl of summery pasta! Grilled vegs and seared shrimp are a good vehicle for ultimate sauce indulgence. I add fresh oregano for a nice change-up in summer flavor to traditional basil, and the oregano adds a slightly more peppery note. You should be able to find it fresh at your local greenmarket or grocery.
2 pounds fresh tomatoes (any variety that is ideal for sauce – heirloom, vine-ripened, plum, etc.)
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons butter
4-6 cloves garlic, grated or minced
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon dried red chili (if desired)
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese for garnish, if desired
Fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired
Score an ‘X’ on one end of each tomato with a knife. Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch tomatoes for 30 seconds, then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Blanching the tomatoes allows the skin to loosen and then be easily removed. (extra credit: this process is known as concassé).
Cut each tomato in half and squeeze out the seeds.
Set seeds and liquid aside for another use. You can strain the seeds out and use the liquid in a tomato vinaigrette or marinade for seafood, roasted veg and more.
Dice the seeded tomatoes.
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and gently cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Add in tomatoes, oregano leaves, red wine vinegar, sugar and red chili. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until gently broken down and saucy. Season with salt and pepper.
The sauce is ready for it’s pairing! Choose pasta, a summer veg like grilled eggplant or summer squash, or grilled shrimp or roast fish. If you’re going the pasta route, try a whole grain or farro pasta for an extra bonus of fiber and healthy carbs.