If you are fortunate enough to live within 30 minutes of a farmer’s market, for goodness’ sake, GO! Enjoy the journey between the stalls; smell the fresh herbs, warmed by the sun, their perfume gently caressing the air. And when you spot that one stand, you’ll know the one, the fruit will beckon
– the shapes will intrigue.
Rustic Tomato Sauce
Only the finest, freshest tomatoes should be used for this recipe!
6 pounds beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
1 vanilla bean
2-4 whole star anise pods
Salt & pepper to taste
White or raw sugar, 1 pinch to 1 T, depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Fresh garlic (2-8 cloves, depending on taste)
One bunch fresh basil
Heat a heavy pot. Do Not Add Oil! Wash tomatoes, cut into rough halves or quarters. Place in hot pot, season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add vanilla, bay leaves and star anise. As the tomatoes start to cook, press gently with a large wooden spoon to release their juice. Reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly to achieve a thick paste, about 1-2 hours. The slow evaporation of liquid will produce a non-bitter, intense flavor.
While tomatoes are slowly cooking, prepare infusion.
Warm oil in pan. Add cracked garlic (smash with a knife) and basil. Combine with the warm tomatoes and finish with a good drizzle of olive oil. Serve over pasta or with good bread, with a grating of pecorino over top