I’ve shared other homemade sauce recipes before, but this one has to be the easiest! It’s made with San Marzano tomatoes which are new to my garden this summer. First, a little background on these beauties.
San Marzanos are an indeterminate tomato, and all that means is that they will continue producing tomatoes until a heavy frost gets them. While all my other plants (determinate) bear fruit all at once, I can continue to pick San Marzanos well into the fall. Chefs prefer these heirlooms for their recipes because of their sweet, less acidic taste. Intense sweetness and few seeds create the perfect balance. They take a bit longer to ripen, but oh, so worth the wait. They’re the Mercedes of plum tomatoes, the cream of the crop. Originating in San Marzano in southern Italy, they grow in the fertile soil at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. In supermarkets, you’ll pay triple for San Marzano tomato paste, so why not grow your own? Sure, my backyard organic soil can’t compare to Mt. Vesuvius, but they definitely outperformed my other plum tomatoes. If you can’t find the young plants at your local nursery in the spring, plan on ordering seeds in late winter. I was lucky (and excited) to find organic San Marzano plants at our farmer’s market. You won’t tire of these, I promise. Okay, on to the recipe.
What You’ll Need
- 8 San Marzano tomatoes, cut into one inch pieces (this will serve 2 people)
- 3 large cloves minced garlic
- A big handful of fresh basil
- Salt (if desired)
Putting It All Together
Saute the garlic in extra virgin olive oil on a low flame until just soft. Try not to let it brown as this will make it bitter.
Add the chopped tomatoes and any juices from chopping and let it simmer on a medium flame until the tomatoes become soft. The longer you cook it, the more it will “cook down” or become liquidy. The choice is yours. If you like a more chunky sauce, cook until the tomatoes are just soft.
Turn off the flame and add the basil. The basil leaves will wilt quickly. Adding them at the very end prevents a bitter taste.
If you like salt, add it when you start cooking the tomatoes. That will bring out more of the tomato’s juices.
Easy, right? And quick. Of course this is delish over your favorite pasta but also livens up grilled chicken or fish. Bon appétit!