Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Charred Tomato Sauce with Fennel

Don't leave me summer! NOOOOOOOOO.  Don't. Leave. Me. I will bottle you up and put you in wonton skins. I'll make you into cookies and bread. I'll blanch you. I'll char you into this sauce. But you'll still leave me. Does anyone want summer to leave when you live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota? Uh, no.
But let's stay positive! Tomatoes. On the grill. This is a perfect end of summer recipe. Grab a huge box of tomatoes when you head down to the farmer's market this weekend, some herbs, onion, garlic, and a carrot. You could leave the carrot out, I just threw it in because it looked lonely in the fridge. The recipe below is for only 20 ounces of sauce (about 2 batches of bolognese sauce), but you could easily triple or quadruple this baby!

You don't have to heat up the house with this recipe, because the grill does all the hard work. Outside. While you drink wine on the deck.
Don't get tinfoil dishes from the dollar store. They are horrible. They bend and fight you like a mad leprechaun.
These tomatoes were not really tomatoes you should put into sauce, too watery, more of a slicer for sammies. But the cute grandpa that lives a block down puts his tomatoes at the end of his driveway and I just can't resist! Summer Tomato Hoarding Syndrome. See all the liquid? All that liquid is bad, because you need caramelization and char on your tomatoes. Get yourself some paste tomatoes.
And use two pans. That'll help the tomatoes breath and develop char = flavor. I was feeling like I needed to be cost efficient and decided to use only one tinfoil dish. Don't be like me. Use two.
Oh, blender. How I love thee. A food processor would work, too. Just let your steam escape out of the feed chute or let your charred vedge cool before whirring it up. But I know you'll never be able to wait, because its so exciting watching it all puree into smooth spaghetti sauce magic.
I used Parmesan from a green plastic container, because that's what I had, but you should get yourself some real gourmet cheese if you want to be super gourmet-ey.
Won't this be fabulous in the middle of January tossed with bucatini? I know. It will.

Printable Recipe Here

Charred Tomato Sauce with Fennel
makes about 2 20 oz. servings

6-8 paste tomatoes, cut into large chunks
2 whole, peeled cloves garlic
1 large sprig oregano, about 1 tablespoon, de-stemmed
1/2 large onion, cut into chunks
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons fennel seed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup basil
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Or oven to 400 degrees F. In two large aluminum roasting pans equally distribute and combine tomatoes, garlic, oregano, onion, carrot and fennel. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Toss to combine and coat vegetables well.

Place roasting pan directly on grill. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When vegetables start to caramelize and the edges turn black, remove from grill. Let cool slightly.

Place grilled tomato mixture in a blender or food processor; let steam escape through feed chute. Add basil and Parmesan cheese. Run on high speed until well combined. Use immediately or chill well then place into freezer safe containers for up to 1 year.

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I'd love to hear all about your kitchen adventures! Xo, Becki