Naked Tomato Sauce


Our garden suddenly produced more tomatoes than we knew what to do with, so in an effort to use as many as possible before they started to go bad, we decided to make marinara sauce.  Embarrassingly enough, I've never made homemade sauce with fresh tomatoes, only with canned, so I had no idea what to do.  I turned to google and opened the first three recipes that showed up.  They were all somewhat similar, but there were a few differences too.  I showed Joel and he immediately chose the one from Smitten Kitchen, saying "this one will probably be the best," since he knows that everything we've made from Deb's site has been delicious.  So, when I looked at the recipe, I noticed on the side of the page that she recently posted this recipe, which is an adaptation of Scott Conant's recipe from Scarpetta.  We decided to go with it, and we are so glad we did!  It required nothing that we didn't already have on hand, and allowed us to use up most of our basket of tomatoes!

3 pounds Tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Garlic Clove, thinly sliced
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Small handful of Basil Leaves
1 sprig Rosemary (we added)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
12 ounces Pasta (we used penne)
1 tablespoon Butter (we omitted)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut a small X at the bottom of each tomato.  Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds, then shock them in an ice bath.  Peel the skins off of the tomatoes.  Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with your fingers into a small strainer set over a bowl.  Toss the seeds and reserve the juices.  Add the tomatoes and salt to a large saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high.  Using an immersion blender or potato masher, break down the tomatoes to the desired smoothness.  Once the sauce has begun to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and gently simmer your tomatoes for 35-45 minutes, mashing them more if necessary.  If they begin to look a little dry, add the strained and reserved tomato juices (I did not end up using any of it).  While the tomato sauce cooks, combine the garlic, a few whole basil leaves, rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and the olive oil in a small saucepan.  Heat them slowly over the lowest heat so that it takes a long time to come up to a simmer.  Once it does, immediately remove it from the heat and strain the oil into a small dish.  When the tomato sauce has been simmering for about 25 minutes, bring the tomato blanching pot of water back to a boil with a handful of salt.  Once it is boiling rapidly, add the pasta and cook to al dente.  Reserve a half-cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest.  Once the sauce is cooked to the desired consistency, stir in the olive oil and adjust the seasoning to taste.  Add the drained pasta and half of the reserved pasta cooking water to the simmering sauce and cook them together for another minute or two.  Add the remaining pasta water if needed.  Stir in the butter, if using, and serve immediately.