Lazy Summer Tomato Sauce

My daughter has been working at a produce stand for the past 4 summers. As a result she frequently comes home with baskets of over-ripe tomatoes impatient to be used. Mind you, I'm not complaining, this is a good problem to have. I've made about every iteration of gazpacho, soup, sauce and salsa with the tomatoes. But for this, the fourth summer, I've hit perfection with the sauce. The key is to slow simmer it, reducing down the juices to a rich, sumptuous sauce. It's what I call a lazy, sauce--as I don't even peel the tomatoes. I hack out any bad spots with a knife, toss the rest in a large stockpot or saucepan, and crush with my hands until it's a soupy mess. The pot is set over medium heat to come to a boil, then lowered, at which point it happily simmers away while I go for a run or garden, or as in this case, binge watch "The Scandal" on Netflix with Nora. Once the sauce is thick, I crush a couple garlic cloves into it, splash with vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and slivers of fresh basil. Sometimes I add a dash or olive oil, sometimes not. Your call. It's then spooned into jars, given to friends or stashed into the freezer.

By / Photography By Jill Melton | June 30, 2015


Core tomatoes, toss in stockpot or large saucepan. Crush with hands. Place pot over medium heat until sauce is boiling. Lower heat and simmer for 3-5 hours or until sauce is chunky and thick. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon into jars and freeze.

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  • 4-6 pounds fresh summer tomatoes, (any kind will work, I use Bradleys, and heirlooms)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh basil, slivered
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