Perhaps you’re a lot like me. Last week I decided I was going to make a ton of salads, turn my nose up at anything processed and work out 30 minutes a day because DANG IT those last ten pounds are coming off! Instead I ended up binge watching Daredevil Season 2 (HOLY ISH AMAZING), getting pizza delivered, and eating Nutella right out of the jar.
Meh. You win some. You lose some. Unfortunately now the tomatoes I bought for salad are just a touch past their prime: their flesh softened, their skin wrinkled and bruised. It’s a good thing old tomatoes do an amazing job of kicking up boring jarred pasta sauce. And yes I buy jarred pasta sauce. Glass jars are BPA free and that’s important to me, especially when you’re dealing with something as acidic as a tomato. If you don’t know what BPA is or why you should avoid it READ THIS.
Barilla’s Traditional Marinara is my go to. It makes for a quick and cheap meal and I like to have it on hand in case of the apocalypse. And by apocalypse I mean a last minute play date with a half dozen picky eaters under the age of seven. Spring break YOU SCARE ME.
Now if you’ve got the time by all means skip the jar and go straight for a 28 ounce can of BPA free whole peeled tomatoes like Amy’s or Muir Glen . You can use the same recipe I’ve outlined here, you’ll just need to let it cook down a little longer. I like to upgrade a good jarred sauce (the simpler the better) with sauteed onions, garlic, fresh basil, lemon zest, a touch of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a little balsamic vinegar. Today I’m also adding those old tomatoes and every other veggie dying in my refrigerator’s crisper drawer. This is my recipe for throw it all in the pot pasta sauce. And if you want to #StopFoodWaste it’s a great one to have!
My soundtrack for this preparation is G. Love & Special Sauce Baby’s Got Sauce BECAUSE WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD G LOVE?!?!?
- large heavy bottomed saute pan
- wooden spoon
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 cups of old tomatoes, rough chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped (optional)
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce or 28 ounces of canned tomatoes (BPA free)
- 1/2 pound of pork bones (optional)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
- balsamic vinegar to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- zest of one lemon (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Warm a large heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add half the extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil has come up to temperature (but isn’t smoking, that only creates bitterness) add half the chopped onion and sweat until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Puree everything in a blender and set aside. Heat up the last two tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan and sweat the rest of the onions and garlic. Once it’s fragrant add any chopped veggies that you’d like to throw in the mix, like carrots, mushrooms, peppers etc. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and the jarred pasta sauce (or BPA free canned tomato).
- As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I freeze bones for use in stocks and sauces. This tomato sauce is a perfect spot for any pork or beef bones you’ve got stored away. Just throw them in along with a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind to deepen your sauce’s flavor. Let the rind soften, remove it and dice it before returning it back to the pot.
- Let your sauce simmer over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the bones from the sauce and stir in the chopped basil. Season to taste with the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Finish the sauce with a teaspoon of lemon zest for brightness and serve over your favorite pasta. Buen provecho!