Sunday, August 10, 2014

summer peach marinara sauce

Let me begin by saying that I realize when you write a recipe you are expected to give amounts of ingredients. The problem with a good pasta sauce is there is a fair amont of improvisation, of wiggle room, when it comes to exactly how much of something goes in the mix. With that in mind, a couple of weeks ago I got a great deal on a big box of tomatoes at the Durham Farmer’s Market. I also two big bags of basil. I keep a bunch of garlic around the house all the time. I came home to make Marinara. When I got home, I remembered the box of ripe peaches we had and decided to try something based on a recipe I have for a tomato-peach jam. The result was a Tomato-Peach Marinara that is light and sweet and awesome.

Here’s the recipe. Find your way to the taste you want.
40 garlic cloves, crushed 
10-12 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and crushed 
8-10 ripe peaches, blanched and peeled 
all the basil you can get your hands on 
cinnamon (start with 1/4 teaspoon)
The easiest way to peel tomatoes and peaches is to blanch them, which means to get a big pot — and I do mean a big pot — of water boiling, cut a one-inch “X” in the bottom of both the peaches and the tomatoes, and then drop them in the boiling water. I did the two fruits separately because the peaches need to boil for about three minutes and the tomatoes should go no more than thirty seconds. Lift them out of the water and put them in a bowl to cool for a minute (again, I kept them separate), then peel them. Slice the peaches and set them aside. Put the peeled tomatoes in a  bowl and crush them with your hands until they are a big chunky mess.

Cover the bottom of your stock pot with garlic. I mean cover it. Then cover the garlic with olive oil. Yes, cover the garlic. I don't mean pour deep fry the stuff, but you're going to put about a cup of oil over that much garlic. Then put it on medium heat, cover, and let the garlic cook for about ten minutes, until it begins to brown and it softens. Add the tomatoes and peaches and reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. When the sauce begins to simmer, lower the heat a bit and uncover it and let it cook for two or three hours, until the tomatoes have mostly cooked away and the peaches are falling apart. Chiffonade or chop the basil and add it to the sauce and stir. Let it simmer another fifteen minutes or so and then purée the sauce using an immersion blender, or you can transfer it in batches to a food processor or a blender. (If you do it that way, be very careful.) Once it is smooth, add salt, pepper, and cinnamon, tasting and adjusting the flavors to your liking.

I’ve used it on ravioli and pasta and eggplant parmigiana. I’ve also just eaten it with a spoon. This summer sauce is amazing. And yes, you can freeze it.