Marinated Tomato Sauce

Adapted from "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest"
Preparation time: 15 minutes to prepare, plus at least 30 minutes to rest before serving
Yield: 5 or 6 servings (plenty for 3/4 pound dried pasta after it is cooked)
This is a simple uncooked tomato sauce to make in the heart of the tomato season. Use it for pasta or rice, or just serve it as an appetizer with some fresh, crusty bread to mop up the juices. (It's really that good!)

BASIC SAUCE:
2 to 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see instructions that follow)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large clove of garlic, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons red wineor balsamic vinegar
About 12 to 15 leaves fresh basil, minced
freshly ground black pepper to taste

MANY OPTIONAL ADDITIONS AND EMBELLISHMENTS
(Use some or all--or none):
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, in small cubes
1/2 cup Nicoise olives
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons minced anchovies
1 to 2 tablespoons capers
3 to 4 tablepsoons lightly toasted pine nuts

  1. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium-large bowl.
    NOTE: You don't have to peel and seed the tomatoes if they are very small and "tight".
  2. Add all other ingredients, and stir gently. Cover and let marinate--in the refrigerator or at room temperature--for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add room temperature sauce to hot pasta or rice, and serve right away.

TO PEEL AND SEED TOMATOES:

  • Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

  • Core the tomatoes and drop them into the water for a slow count of 20. (Or just count to 10 if they are quite ripe.)

  • Retrieve them and peel off and discard the skins. Cut them open and squeeze out and discard the seeds.