Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tomato Pepper Carrot Puree (Raw Spaghetti Sauce)

Staring down a pile of ripe tomatoes, I knew I wanted pasta sauce for my freezer.  I knew that I wanted to make a huge batch, eat some for dinner, and freeze the rest.  I knew that dinner was in 30 minutes.  So, I punted (which is a luxury I can afford, when I don't intend on preserving the final product in a jar, on the shelf.)

After finding this recipe and taking stock of what I had, I scoffed at the suggested three tomatoes, grabbed as many things from my fridge as I dared, and came up with this.

Technically, I'm going to call it a tomato-carrot-bell pepper puree.  Eat it cold and plain, it's gazpacho.  Warm it up and thin it down with some chicken stock, it's a nice warm soup base.  Cook it down thicker, and it would make an excellent spread for crackers or little toast points or crusty baguette rounds.  Use it as a pizza sauce.  Do what I did, and spoon some into a hot pot of drained pasta, add back some of the starchy pasta water, and stir it over low heat till the sauce is thick and clingy on the noodles.  The main thing to remember is it's raw, it's delicious, and it's fast.  Oh, and it's smooth.  Very, VERY important to my kids.

Tomato Pepper Carrot Puree
Makes about 5 Cups

1/4 cup olive oil
10 medium sized tomatoes, halved (I used Early Girls and very, very fat Romas from the garden)
3-4 cloves garlic
1 small onion, halved
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it- I made ALL of my basil into pesto yesterday)
2 Tbsp white vinegar (for a little kick, and to keep it bright looking)
2 red bell peppers, topped and seeded, then torn into quarters
2 good-sized carrots, chopped into 1" cubes

Start with the first eight ingredients, but only put in two or three halved tomatoes.  Blend well- as you can, add the rest of the ingredients.  I have a workhorse of a vintage VitaMix, you might need to adjust things or use a food processor at home.  Grating the carrots would also help in smaller blenders.  Taste test, and add more basil or salt or pepper or garlic or red pepper, or whatever you fancy.

As a pasta sauce, I'd say this made enough for about 5 pounds of pasta.