Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Best Tomato Sauce

I love tomatoes. Better, I adore tomatoes. And I know that they're out of season, but even so, there are two kinds that are currently making my life lovely. 

One kind is the plump, juicy plum tomatoes that come in pretty cans from Italy. Raw, they're nothing special, but they are completely transformed by being simmered on the stove with onions and butter. It has to be butter. Olive oil is wonderful, but you need the milky creaminess and rich body of butter to play off the sweetness and tartness of the tomatoes. The only other ingredients are garlic, salt and pepper, and you can even skip the garlic.The end result is a sweet, savoury, delicious tomato sauce that I'm going to eat for dinner tonight over whole-wheat spaghetti and grey-green Puy lentils and topped with fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. 

The other kind of tomato I'm currently in love with is a little tomato-shaped timer that keeps me focused and anxiety-free. I'm trying The Pomodoro Technique--getting things done, 25 minutes at a time. If you're like me, and you end up procrastinating and hyperventilating because you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and/or unfocused, you might find the method helpful. Oh, and did I mention that it's free?

Of course, taking a break from work to eat pasta is totally allowed. Encouraged, in fact. 

The Simplest Tomato Sauce (Makes 12 servings--eat some now, and freeze some for later)

1/2 cup salted butter
3 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3-28oz cans of plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan. 

Add the onions and garlic. Saute for 10-12 minutes, or until soft and translucent. 
Add the tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, or until thick. Stir occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Season to taste and serve. 

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