Work with what you’ve got…

This week didn’t happen as planned, not unheard of during crush, but way off of everyone’s expectations.  We did get Sauvignon Blanc for Lagana Cellars and Orange Muscat for Locati Cellars, but the Pinot Grigio we anticipated didn’t get harvested by the vineyard as expected.  Everyday those grapes hang they are more ripe than we want them to be; a full week will pass from the day we planned to press them before they are harvested.  We will make it all good, but I think this is the longest delay we have ever had waiting for grapes.  Previous record is a day after schedule, just for reference.

At home we have some harvesting of our own to contend with.  My herb gardens are prolific as usual, so I have been cutting and drying for tea and seasoning.  This week Hubby picked five pounds of tomatoes from the three plants he has on the patio.  Considering he already eats lots of tomatoes daily he knew he needed to do something with the volume so he wouldn’t lose it.  I suggested I cut some of the basil and make him pasta sauce; he accepted.  Although I can’t eat it, making it is a pleasure.  He gave it a thumbs up and has added it to pasta and cabbage rolls already this week from the bowl I left in the fridge.  About three quarts of pasta sauce went into the freezer for him to use through the winter.  So, if you have lots of tomatoes and need to do something with your bounty, consider this a quick recipe that lends itself to lots of applications.

Quick Pasta Sauce

  • 5 pound fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow, orange or red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (Walla Walla Sweet Onion went into ours)
  • 1 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dry fennel fronds
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano crumbled
  • 1 large bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine, (Locati Cellars Sangiovese went in ours)
  • 2 small cans tomato paste

Chopping your vegetables is the most work for this sauce.  In a large, thick bottomed pot, saute’ in olive oil the onions until translucent then add the garlic and pepper until fragrant.  Put all of the tomatoes into the pot and cover, lower the heat to medium.  When they are soft and the skins leave the flesh use an immersion blender to puree everything.  (Note: using a blender is great, just do small amounts at a time and return all to the pot for seasoning.)  Add all herbs and the red wine at this point and heat to a simmer; try to avoid boiling as the herb flavors will be better retained without the high heat.  Once the sauce is hot through open both cans of tomato paste and add promptly, stirring everything together. (Note: opening both ends of the can, or puncturing the bottom of the can and blowing the paste out, is a quick way to empty the cans.)  I removed the sauce from the heat and let it sit for several hours covered before removing the bay leaves.  Putting it into containers and then into the refrigerator overnight before they went into the freezer.

Despite not eating nightshade fruits like tomatoes and peppers, I do cook with them for those I love.  There is a lot of hand washing and I am careful not to rub or scratch my skin until I have washed with soap, but the smiles and exclamations of goodness are worth the effort.  (For chiles I wear gloves as they don’t wash off well enough.)  We have learned to work with my allergies and sensitivities without having to make either of us do totally without something we love.  The basil I grow makes pesto that I will put on my pasta and pizzas in place of pasta sauce and I love the flexibility I have to add lots of garlic to it – something I really enjoy.  Let me know if you have a pasta sauce you love to make that has different ingredients. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Work with what you’ve got…

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