Late summer tomatoes finally turning red, check. Basil plants still producing loads of leaves, check. Garlic cloves and fruity extra virgin olive oil, check and check. These are the only ingredients you need for the easiest and tastiest tomato sauce. Is your go-to tomato sauce made up of less than five items? The results are simple and spectacular.
How is it that when tomatoes meet olive oil, garlic and basil, gastronome poetry is created? It's such a simple assembly, yet so satisfying, delicious and familiar — yet different.
This sauce is a nice departure from the standard, hearty, slow-cooked version. The freshness of the ingredients and the piquant spice of the garlic create a nice balance of intense flavors. This recipe is a great way to use up tomatoes that have been lingering in the garden or on the counter for a hair too long. The marinating with all the herbs and oils 'cooks' the tomatoes down a little, giving the sauce body and fullness.
This Uncooked Tomato Sauce would also make a great bruschetta topping, dip for flat bread/pita or as the base for a Tuscan soup.
Uncooked Tomato Sauce
serves 4 generously
6 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
10 leaves of basil, cut into fine strips (reserve a little for garnish)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
Place tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil into a large serving bowl. Stir mixture until all tomatoes are coated with oil and garlic is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.
Cover the bowl and let marinate for about four hours on the counter at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste. Juices from the tomatoes will be released and flavors will meld. If you can't wait the full four hours, it's still tasty, right out of the mixing bowl. Serve over warm pasta or bread, with more fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Related: Bruschetta Two Ways
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)