Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swimming in Marinara

The garden is singing with full voice these days.  The tomatoes are ripe to bursting and my little kitchen herb garden is loaded with fresh basil and thyme. This afternoon, with a rumble in the skies signaling a thunderstorm heading my way, I decided to sock in and try my hand at Roasted Tomato Marinara.

This was supposed to be easy, and it was.  I just didn't expect it to be beautiful.  In my big heavy roasting pan, above, I have four varieties of tomatoes - Better Boy, Roma, Cherry and Grape.  After washing and quartering, I tossed them in and added a big handful of basil leaves, a nice bunch of fresh thyme, half an onion roughly chopped, six whole cloves of garlic, an abundance of fresh cracked black pepper, sea salt and good olive oil.
Then I ran it into a 325 degree oven, uncovered, and wandered off for about two hours.  Out of the oven, I let the whole thing cool a bit, after which I lifted the herbs out and discarded them.  Next, I lifted everything out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put it in a big stainless steel bowl - discarding the liquid left in the pan.  After a few rounds with the boat motor (otherwise known as an immersion blender - and you can also use a food processor but I'm too lazy to clean all of that up), I was left with a nice thick sauce.  I ran it through a strainer to remove all the seeds and tomato peels and put it into a large saucepan for one final simmer before doling it out into freezer bags.

It tastes pretty fabulous.  And I promise I didn't plan this, but my photo of the final product looks like I dove into the saucepan for a swim.  Maybe it was the lightning and thunder and blowing rain, or maybe it was just serendipity.  Whatever the case, a journey in search of marinara took a detour through the looking glass. 

Art happens when you least expect it.

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