I am inside writing this post, just waiting to run outside and enjoy the weather. It’s hot, it’s friday, and I am working from home. The good bit is that when I stop for the day, I am already at home and just a 10 minute walk from the pub. The bad bit is that I can see freedom from the office window. I am listening to the 80’s radio station on my PC and working, taking a bit of a break of course to write this. When I work from home I do have the freedom to start quite early and then do a bit of cooking as well.
I have a sudden glut of tomatoes that need to be used up and I thought that I would make up a large pot of fresh pasta sauce that we can have for dinner with pasta or zucchini noodles, and the rest can go on the freezer for another recipe. I am embarrassed to call this a recipe as it is so incredibly simple to make, it just relies on the freshness of the tomatoes. This sauce is easiest and when you use fresh summer tomatoes that have that are really flavourful as you need to add very little.
For the first time in years we are having an extended bit of summer weather where it is both warm and sunny and this has meant that my herbs have come back from near death and are thriving.
I have mint growing in about 4 different places, the basil has pride of place next to the shed where the snails can’t eat it, the rosemary has trebled in size and the thyme which was on its last legs is hale and hearty now.
Saying that, I am going to have to find a way to preserve them as I don’t want them to go to waste. There is only so much pesto one family can eat!
Ok admittedly my indoor shots need some work. That is my next project, but learning to photograph food has proven to be a bit more of a challenge than my outdoor photos, or indeed the 1000’s (and I am not kidding here) of photos I take of my cats.
Moving right along..as I mentioned, fresh tomato sauce is really quite easy, but you have to be willing to leave your oven on for about an hour. I arrange all of my tomatoes on an assortment of baking sheets, ensuring they are all roughly the same size. The larger ones I cut in half or quarters. I add many cloves of garlic in as well, I don’t bother to peel them, then drizzle the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. The brilliant thing about this recipe is that even if the tomatoes are slightly overripe you can use them and in fact these are some of the best tomatoes to use. I tend to put in a mixture of fresh herbs while cooking and then add more later if I feel the sauce needs them. My herb of choice when slow roasting is fresh thyme.
Pop everything in the oven and wait for them to roast slowly. When they are done roasting I pour everything in to a saucepan and season before cooking for a bit longer. The smell is amazing, and the concentrated flavour of the slow roasted tomatoes is beyond anything you can buy in the shops. There is a sweetness to the tomatoes that jarred sauces only get through sugar. What you do from here is totally up to you and the quality of your tomatoes. If I make this at the end of the summer and the tomatoes are not as good as they should be, then I may add a bit of tomato paste to give the sauce a bit of oomph and maybe a little balsamic, just a little.
For this batch I added a bit more olive oil, a bit of boiling water from the kettle, dried greek oregano, and a bit more thyme. I removed the skins from the garlic and left the slow roasted caramelised bits of garlicky loveliness in the sauce.
The sauce was good enough to eat off the spoon, but instead I will have mine over zucchini “noodles” and real pasta for the hubby. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil and a tiny sprinkling of parmesan with a large green salad on the side. I would not add the basil while cooking as cooking the basil tends to give it a faintly bitter taste. This recipes server 3-4 people depending on appetites.