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Summer Tomato Sauce

This is a fresh summer sauce. It is very light. It does not cook long. Who wants to have the flame on for hours when it is eighty degrees out? The recipe is written with the prep overlapping the cooking. So the prep of the next ingredient is the cooking time of the one you just put in. To make that work out right, you need to have everything out and ready to go. The vegetables need to be washed but not prepped. Start to finish will take about an hour. Serves four.

Gather the tools and ingredients:

A large saucier pan, a pasta pot, a grater, a bowl, a peeler, and a knife

An onion, a carrot or two, a celery rib or two (I often use chard stems as a substitute), two pounds of fresh tomatoes, two or three cloves of garlic, two good size sprigs of parsley, a sprig of oregano, a fresh cayenne pepper (substitute based on heat tolerance, but use some kind of pepper), four or five basil leaves, good olive oil, a tsp of sugar, salt and pepper. You will also need a pound of dried pasta.

Put the saucier pan over medium low heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil (3-4 tablespoons) once the pan heats up a little.

Peel then grate the carrots into the bowl. Once the oil is shimmering, add the carrots and give them a stir.

Grate the onion into the bowl. Add it to the carrots and give them a stir.

Grate the celery or chard stems into the bowl. This is kind of a pain, but if you just chop them they will be chunky in the sauce. Grating them will also remove most of the strings. Your yield will be low. Check the sauce, the oil should be soaked up. You may have to reduce the heat. Don't brown the vegetables, just soften them. Add the celery and give it a stir.

Mince the garlic and add it to the sauce.

Core and halve the tomatoes, then grate them into the bowl. This will remove the skins and break down the tomatoes. If the vegetables are drying out or the garlic is starting to brown, add the first tomato you grate to introduce a little liquid. If not you can finish grating and add them all at once.

Add the sprigs of parsley and oregano. Leave them whole, they will be removed later. Add the sugar, a bit of salt, and a generous amount of black pepper. I typically use a teaspoon or more.

Put water in the pasta pan and heat over medium high heat.

Dice the cayenne pepper and set it aside. Chop the basil and set it aside. 

Once the water reaches a boil, salt your water and add the pasta. Set a timer according to the pasta you are using. Pour a glass of wine, you have a few minutes!

A minute or two before the pasta is ready, remove the parsley and oregano sprigs. It isn't a problem if a few small leaves stay in the sauce. You could puree the sauce at this point. However, one reason we grated the vegetables was to eliminate the need to do that. Add the diced pepper and give the sauce a good stir. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce pan. If you don't finish it in the sauce it won't hold this sauce at all. Once the pasta is done to your taste, remove the sauce from heat and add the basil. Give everything one more good stir.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan cheese.

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