Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sexy Vegetarian Thursday: Tomato Pesto Sauce

Hello, lovelies!

Happy Sexy Vegetarian Thursday! SVT is a series dedicated to sharing vegetarian and/or vegan dinner recipes with you. Yes, you! Check out other posts in the series for why I started it in the first place, what sexy has to do with meatless meals, and, ya know, actual recipes.

Week 1: summer tomato pasta
Week 2: onion potato frittata
Week 3: grown up grilled cheese
Week 4: feta potatoes patties
Week 5: creamy tomato feta penne
Week 6: chilaquiles
Week 7: vodka sauce ravioli
Week 8: lime stir fry
Week 9: lemon tofu sauce with rice
Week 10: leek, spinach, & blue cheese frittata
Week 11: stuffed twice-baked potatoes
Week 12: garbanzo bean spaghetti
Today's recipe helped me use up the last of seasonal tomatoes and basil from my friend Meghan's garden. I intended to make pesto and marinara sauce separately; however, I didn't have any pine nuts. I swear, I am always one ingredient short! Never fails. In lieu of pesto, I decided to wing a tomato basil pasta sauce and see what happened. It turned out so well that it survived the scrutiny of both Mr. J and my cousin, Kara, who's a rather picky eater.

Let's say--conservatively--that I was thrilled.

So thrilled that I did the Carleton dance all over the house. My Carleton is pretty fierce and only busted out on the rarest of occasions.

This may indicate how excited I get about cooking and about feeding people. (I almost wrote "cooking and feeding people," but I am neither a cannibal nor Hannibal Lector. Grammar lovers will know what I'm talking, about what I'm talking? Ah, screw it.)

It's easy to double, triple, etc. this recipe, so you can make it in bulk and freeze it to use throughout the winter. Say goodbye to chemicals, preservatives, and other stuff you can't pronounce and hello to flavor (flav).

2 quarts of tomatoes, cut into 1" pieces (I had a mix of Roma and grape)
1/2 cup water
a pinch each of: salt, onion powder, pepper, and sugar   (How very French of me!)
splash of lemon juice
40 fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
*makes 3 cups*

Place tomatoes, water, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to low. Simmer the tomatoes for 10 minutes without a lid, 10 minutes with a lid, and 5 minutes with the lid back off. I found that having the lid on helped soften the skins while removing the lid helped the mixture thicken.

Use an immersion blender (or a standing blender) to combine the tomatoes and water until smooth. I do not recommend straining the sauce as that will thin it significantly and you'll be left with a very watery, bland liquid. The blended tomato skins and seeds hold the sauce together, and they're not noticeable once the basil is mixed in.

Put the sauce back over low heat. Add a pinch of salt, onion powder, pepper, and sugar, as well as a splash of lemon juice. Adjust the flavors to your taste! Make it your own.

Who doesn't have a random banana on their stove?

Now on to the basil sauce. Use a food processor to blend the basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of the just-made tomato sauce until smooth. The sauce will be very thick and smell amazingly. Equip yourself to deal with the drooling that is bound to happen.

Now add the basil sauce to the tomato sauce. Use immediately, or let it cool to room temperature before freezing.

This sauce freezes and defrosts really nicely. I needed both jars to sufficiently cover one pound of pasta.

If you give this recipe a go, tell me all about it!

Much love,

Linked up to:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen’s CountryCottage

A Glimpse Inside

What's Cooking Love?

Rhinestone Beagle