Sauce

Posted by laura on Mar 08 2009 | Awesome, Tasty, Travel

Every summer, as most of you know, we head back to Boston for a few weeks to see our family and spend some time at the beach. When I was growing up, I’d start planning for our August beach weeks sometime around now, in March, when the grey and the cold and the slush were just never ending. Not much has changed, except now I have two kids who do the same thing. We might not have slush, but we are already pining for Boston and the beach.

Most of the huge joy of this trip is seeing our extended family – there are cousins and aunts and uncles and second cousins and greats and once removeds and twice returneds… there are even some great greats. It’s awesome, and our kids are lucky to know so many members of their big wonderful family. The only hard part of the visit is how much it makes us miss everyone when we’re not there.

Last summer, the kids and I were at Rosemary Pool one late afternoon with our cousins Eileen and Kevin and their three superb kids, and they were kind enough to invite us over for dinner. It was a perfect end to a perfect day, and it fit neatly into our conniving scheme to not cook for ourselves once during our vacation. Don’t look at me – it was all Honey’s idea. We rocked up to Eileen and Kevin’s that night, and even from the driveway we could smell the delicious dinner cooking. We were impressed, then excited, then suspicious, because I swear they left the pool at the same time we did. Sure, we made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s (and bumped into Mary, which was a treat), but it wasn’t nearly enough time to get the whole neighborhood smelling so good. Something was up that night – some kind of superhero dinner thing – because the the food they cooked was beyond delicious. They made a pasta sauce that was so amazing I swooned, but they told me that they’d never give me the recipe, not even if I saved them all from a burning building, and I’ve never had that divine sauce again.

Ok so that last line is a teeny bit untrue. They did give me the recipe, but I can’t find the very important, specific tomatoes required, so I haven’t had the sauce again. Humph. I’ve never been a great one for making sauce – it always seems to come out thin and uninspired instead of rich and beautiful. (I know I know, story of my life.) Well a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a new way of making sauce that’s making up for lost time. It’s a slow-roasted sauce, and it’s easy (yay!) and really quite good.

roastedsauceYou take a bunch of tomatoes (8ish has worked well for us), slice them in half, and toss them in a large ziplock bag. Add some veggies if you like – onion, red pepper, mushroom – just wash them and chop them a bit, although the pieces can be pretty big. Then add some olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, some honey, salt and pepper, garlic. I like to save any herbs until the end. Close up the bag and shake it all about until all the contents have mingled and gotten to know each other, then roll everything out of the bag and into a pan (like a brownie pan) and slow roast the whole thing at about 280 for the afternoon. I’m not kidding – you let it cook for about 4 hours.

When it’s cooked, you just pop it in the blender and you’re done. You can tweak the spices and throw in some fresh herbs to tailor it to your taste, but that’s it. No blanching or peeling or stirring or anything. It makes the house smell divine and it has a lovely flavor. There you have it – sauce. This should tide me over until July. 

tortellini

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