What could be more delicious than a ripe, juicy tomato, freshly picked from the garden? We can’t think of much else these days. So what do you do when you have a variety of tomatoes in different sizes, colors and flavors? You make sauce, of course!

Here are two of our favorite versions: quick and easy and slow-cook. Either way, you’re sure to delight the taste buds.

Quick and Easy Fresh Pasta Sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

About 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped to 1/2″ size

salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound pasta

1/2 cup fresh basil, packed

Directions

Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and after a few seconds, add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to mix the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down and are softened to your liking.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your choice of pasta. (Spinach pasta is delicious with fresh sauce.) When the pasta is al dente, use a ladle to remove 2 spoonfuls of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta. Then add the cooked noodles into the sauce, adding the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.

Place the pasta into a serving plate and top with freshly chopped basil. Serve immediately.

Slow-Cook Fresh Pasta Sauce

All good things come to those who wait, right? This sauce is definitely worth the wait. Trust us. The trick here is adding flavor, layer-by-layer, until it’s just right.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

About 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped to 1/2″ size

28 ounces canned tomato puree, San Marzano is recommended*

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 large whole carrot, washed

2 cups good red wine

1 teaspoon of each of the following dried herbs: basil, oregano, parsley

1/2 teaspoon of each of the following seasonings: garlic powder, mushroom powder

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup fresh basil, packed

1 pound pasta

 

Directions

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and after a few seconds, add the garlic. Sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the sundried tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, pressing on the sundried tomatoes and garlic with the back of a wooden spoon until they break down and form a paste.

Add the fresh tomatoes to the saucepan and mix well. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened. Then mix in the tomato puree and paste. Taste and season accordingly. Add the carrot to the pot.

Bring the heat back up to medium and allow the sauce to come to a low boil. Add the red wine and all dried herbs and seasonings. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes, mixing occasionally. Finely chop the basil and add to the pot. Remove the carrot. Taste and season accordingly. If you’d prefer a smoother texture, use a stick blender to quickly puree the sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your choice of pasta. When the pasta is al dente, use a ladle to remove 2 spoonfuls of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta. Spoon the sauce over the cooked pasta, adding the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.

 

*If your garden is producing lots of fresh tomatoes, simply replace the canned tomato puree with about 4-5 additional cups of freshly chopped tomatoes. If you’d like a very smooth sauce, use plum or San Marzano tomatoes and peel before cooking.

 

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Five Elements, Food

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