I planted a garden for the first time ... and with one exception (the zucchini), everything actually grew ... and grew ... and grew. It's mid-October and I'm still picking poblanos and tomatoes. Since I'm the only one in the family who likes fresh tomatoes, I needed to come up with something to do with all the extra cherry tomatoes that came from the two plants in the garden. Enter cherry tomato sauce. I love this recipe because you don't need to peel or seed the tomatoes (which can be a real pain when you are in a hurry). I paired this sauce with the Parmesan gnocchi and I thought I'd died and gone to food heaven. So, so, so good!
Cherry Tomato Sauce
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Sugar to taste (optional)
1. Mince garlic and onion (a food process works well for the onion). Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion. Saute for five minutes or until onion is soft.
2. In batches, puree cherry tomatoes in food processor until chunky. Add to onion mixture.
3. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Substitution Suggestions: I've used other types of tomatoes with the same excellent results. I've also added basil leaves and a splash of balsamic vinegar during the simmering process. Both worked very well. I've also added butter to the olive oil. Again, delicious. Browned sausage (the Hillshire Farms type) also works in it if you want to add protein.
Lessons Learned: These measurements are all suggestions. This recipe does not require a lot of measurement, which is one of the reasons why I love making it. As quoted, it will feed at least four adults with an entree portion.
I cry every time I try to chop an onion despite trying every wives' tale in the book. I'm just sensitive, I guess. So for me, the food processor is a must!
And, the tomatoes really do need to stay chunky, not smooth. Don't leave them whole unless you like hot cherry tomato juice squirting up at you when they burst from the heat.
The sugar is optional. I like a little sweetness with the savory dish, so the sugar adds just the right amount since my tomatoes weren't overly sweet. The key is to taste as you go. Start with just a little, then work your way up to the desired sweetness. (The sweetness will build as the sauce simmers and reduces.) I got too much in it once and while it was still good, it was a little too sweet.
I like a lot of onion, so I use a whole onion in my sauce. You can absolutely cut the onion back, but it will change the texture of the sauce. The goal is not to have a smooth sauce (like the slop you pour out of a glass jar from the grocery store). Having created my own sauces from fresh, homegrown tomatoes, I may never willingly resort to store-bought sauce again! I'll be planting more tomatoes next year. Two cherries and two big boys are just not enough! As it is, I've raided my friend's garden twice!