You might recall my highlight of Myra and Marea Goodman’s amazing Vegan Blackberry Bran Muffins from their new cookbook,Straight from the Earth: Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone. Well I have another two-part recipe to share that shows off the savory side of this Earthbound Farm family. The Heirloom Tomato Sauce below was created to accompany their recipe for Seared Polenta.
Beyond the fabulous recipes, Myra loves to share stories with the food that help to connect readers with what they are about to create. Even this simple heirloom tomato sauce has it’s own tale:
Growing up in New York City, I had tomatoes that were hard, cold, tasteless wedges on iceberg lettuce salads. The first time I saw, smelled, and tasted a vine-ripened heirloom tomato, I was beside myself with joy. Miraculous! It took growing and having more heirloom tomatoes than we could possibly eat fresh to enable me to cook them into a sauce.
Homemade heirloom tomato sauce turns the simplest pasta night into a gourmet dinner. I am so lucky because my husband, Drew, has become an avid tomato gardener, and he makes huge batches of sauce that we freeze in zip-top bags so we can enjoy the taste of peak summer all year long.
This version is the Goodman classic sauce with a little extra kick from red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit. It’s the perfect accompaniment to Marea’s delectable seared polenta cakes. If you plan on doubling or tripling this recipe, you’ll want to peel the tomatoes first (see Note). Otherwise, you can do what I usually do, and use tongs to pick the skins out of the sauce as it simmers. Marea doesn’t mind the skins, and just leaves them in her sauce. The choice is yours.
Special Diet Notes: Spicy Heirloom Tomato Sauce
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo and generally top food allergy-friendly.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil + more for the baking dish
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2½ tablespoons chopped garlic
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 lbs (2.7 kg) ripe heirloom tomatoes (quartered if you are not peeling them)*
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup (25 g) packed chopped fresh basil
- Heat the oil in a large, nonreactive pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it softens but does not brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cover the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes to break up the chunks. Add the tomato paste and ½ teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Add the basil and simmer for 2 minutes more.
- Remove the pot from the heat. The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week, and frozen for up to 1 year.