Every time we go out into the garden now, we come back with tomatoes. The two cherry varieties are about three times the size of the other two, and producing enormous quantities. The San Marzano is slow but steady, and I have gotten a grand total of two ripe tomatoes so far from the Big Rainbow -- beautiful and fascinating things, yellow mottled with orange, huge and weighty -- but both had been bored by insects enough that I was not willing to taste them. (Eeeuw). The Black Cherry and the Sweet Chelsea are racing, I think, to see which can produce more.
Yesterday David and the girls went out in the evening and gathered a colander-full, five pounds, mostly of the Sweet Chelseas, and this morning I made sauce. This recipe is adapted from one in "Martha Stewart Living", and really is simple, as well as tomatoey.
You can use any kind of tomato in this sauce with good results. I found that it was a bit thicker when made with only Romas, as the cherries have less meat in them, but then David likes runnier sauces, so that's not a problem. Using a variety of tomatoes in each batch will give you more consistency of flavor between batches, but I think it's interesting to have a hint of, say, Black Cherry now and then.
Use a really good olive oil, as with only four ingredients a dreary oil will make a dreary sauce. I also use the fancy Mediterranean sea salt in this.
If you use a blender to purée the sauce, be sure to remove the center insert from the lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel, before turning on the blender. I don't even want to think about how many times I've wiped soup off of the undersides of the kitchen cupboards before somebody told me to do this! The hot air and liquid inside the blender expands at a fantastic rate, and will push off the lid the moment the power goes on. Removing the center insert will allow the hot air to escape more-or-less harmlessly, and holding a kitchen towel on top of the open part will keep splashes inside. You can certainly leave the sauce chunky, but it has such a wonderful creamy consistency when puréed that I always make it that way now.
This recipe gives quantities per pound of tomatoes, and is quite easy to increase. I've done it with one pound -- which makes enough sauce for about a half-pound of pasta, for our dinner that night, and takes about half an hour -- and with yesterday's five pounds. The only thing you need to change is the size of the pan, and possibly the simmering time.
Simple Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon chopped garlic
1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored if necessary, and coarsely chopped
scant 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and stir for 20 seconds -- do not let it brown. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer vigorously, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, 15 to 25 minutes.
Carefully purée the sauce, in batches, in a blender or food processor, and season with more salt if desired. Serve immediately, or let cool.
Store the sauce in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups per pound of tomatoes. Active work time, about 30 minutes.