Tomato Basil Sauce (taste of summer)

December 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm 2 comments

This summer I spent a whole day chopping up a 25lb box of tomatoes and cooking them into a tomato basil sauce that could be stored away for winter. Well, winter is here. No doubt about that. It’s snowy and cold here in Calgary, and it was frosty even in Vancouver, where we spent the Christmas week.

So, freshly home from our trip and with not much food in the fridge, it was time to bring out a jar of that heavenly sauce for a simple pasta meal. I added a small tin of tomato paste to it along with about 2 cups of fresh spinach, some finely chopped almonds, grated asiago and hot chili flakes and served it over brown rice pasta for a delicious, simple supper that tasted just like summer. Vegetarian and gluten free, of course.

The recipe for the sauce is below. I highly recommend devoting a day next summer to finding a big box of tomatoes and making it. It was a beautiful way to spend a day, and the experience of pulling out a jar of your own tomato sauce in winter time is about a million times better than opening up a jar of Prego.

The recipe is from one of the best vegetarian cookbooks of all time, Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. Rebar is a brilliant restaurant in Victoria, BC that perfectly captures the west coast ethos we all love so much: authentic, hip, relaxed, delicious vegetarian food made with imagination and care and with a sustainable sensibility that dates back long before the 100 mile diet went mainstream. One recipe (below) makes about 6 cups of sauce. My 25lbs of tomatoes made about a dozen jars of sauce that were stored away for winter, plus a bunch that we ate during the summer time.

Tomato Sweet Basil Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
pinch red chili flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
2 tablespoons full-bodied red wine
2 (796 mL) cans organic diced tomatoes (or 12-15 diced fresh tomatoes)
1 oz (handful) fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add onions and saute until lightly golden. Add garlic, bay leaves, salt and red chili flakes. Stir and saute gently for 15 minutes. Add wine and let liquid reduce by half. Add tomatoes to onion mixture and add basil and pepper. Let the sauce come to a gentle simmer, partly cover and continue simmering for at least 30 minutes. Add the brown sugar and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, etc or freeze for later. I froze mine in leftover glass salsa jars and they’re doing just great.


Entry filed under: Cooking, Gardening, Gluten Free, Home, Kitchen garden, Life, Local food, Making, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura  |  April 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

    What can you substitute for the red wine? This looks delicious!!!

  • 2. nestandsparkle  |  May 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Laura – you could just use water instead of wine.

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