With this beautiful weather, 71 degrees on an October day, still harvesting broccoli spears, beet greens, a hardy mesclun mix, and a mystery squash, I am still thinking summer cooking in my kitchen.

Why chop if you’re blending?

It’s one of many shortcut questions I pose to myself when I am cooking. The feature photo is my “no chop” red sauce, before I cook it.  Yes, I only VERY roughly chop the onion.

What you see there…

one large onion, four foot-long stalks of basil, oregano and rosemary, about a cup of my roasted tomatoes (see Summer Kitchen #1), five pounds of roma tomatoes, and 4 pods of large home-grown garlic with longer stalks, outer layers of husks removed. Each clove is scored (very shallow slice along the length of the clove).

I put about a cup of olive oil (Partanna is my current favorite, but Filippo Berio will do) in a stock pot on medium heat to wilt the onions. Add the garlic and herbs to simmer until fragrant. Then add the tomatoes and a cup of good red wine (merlot, pinot noir… whatever was opened a few days ago and needs to be used up). Cover and simmer with lower heat for about two hours, more is fine, just keep the heat down. Wait! I forgot to put the home-grown cayenne pepper (about a teaspoon) into the picture. That goes in with the tomatoes. Now, do the long simmer.

After a while, the kitchen aroma will make you hungry for orecchiette bolognese, or maybe sausage and peppers  tucked in a soft Italian hoagie. It is time to take out the bare herb stalks, hold the garlic stalks with small tongs and nudge the creamy soft garlic cloves into the sauce, then use your immersion blender to puree the whole pot of ruby red lusciousness!  Adjust for salt. Put it up in assorted canning jars (sterilized, along with their lids). This batch made 4 quarts and two pints. Freeze or fridge them.

This is a sample of my jars of red sauce, surrounded by a collection of odd squash that showed up in my garden this Fall.

Summer flavors will burst on the scene whenever you wish during the winter months!

Photos by SAM Steiner 2022


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