Q: Hello Chef,
Last year you published Bob Marshall’s tomato sauce recipe. I made it with my homegrown tomatoes and it was the best sauce I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the recipe. Could you send it my way? Thanks for all your food and garden wisdom.
A: Dear Karen,
Your letter arrived on the very day that a friend gave me a box of sungold tomatoes that he had leftover at the end of market. They were so ripe there wasn’t a chance they’d last until the next market, so he just gave them to me.
Such is the blessing and the curse of my job. I attract food. I’m a slave to food. It took two hours to pull the little green stems off each cherry tomato and 16 hours cooking on low in the oven for my perfect sauce to be ready—at the expense of some very important household projects, like sleeping.
You might want to cut larger tomatoes into chunks, but the gist is to let the tomatoes cook low and slow in the oven, with the herbs of your choice (I used tarragon and basil) and a bit of olive oil. You can add onions and garlic in large chunks, which will dissolve over time into the sauce. Season with salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cooked down to about half the original volume.
And if you want the exact recipe as I printed it last year, here it is:
Wash 10 pounds Roma tomatoes and cut out the ends and imperfections. Roast in the oven at 400°F until they collapse. Let them cool then pull off the skins, squeezing them to save the juice. Add 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup roasted garlic, 2 tablespoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons sugar and, if possible, a splash or two of red wine. Puree, adjust the seasonings and simmer until reduced by 25 percent.