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Necessity is the Mother of Invention


Okay, invention is probably not quite the right word but necessity definitely is.  I’ve had a little issue with fruit flies lately.  As the tomatoes sitting on my counters have ripened to nearly too ripe, the number (and size!) of the fruit flies flitting around has become unbearable.  Even my fruit fly traps have been only so effective in managing the issue.  So yesterday I decided that I had to use all the tomatoes I had in the house before I picked and brought any more in.  
Once I’d made that decision, "what to have for lunch", was a no-brainer.  I took all the tomatoes I had, rinsed and stemmed them and then dropped them in a 6 quart pot.  I set the pot over low heat, starting with it covered, then removing the lid once the tomatoes were starting to steam.  I stirred them every now and then; after about two hours over low heat the tomatoes were completely broken down into sauce and were pretty thick. 
At this point I put batches of the sauce into the blender to create a thick and slightly chunky texture.  If this sauce had been for company or if I was doing a big batch of it I would have run it through a chinois or food mill (much like applesauce) to remove large seeds and tomato skin. 
Once the sauce was to this point it can be used in a number of ways, for instance as a base for salsa, soup, or as a pasta sauce.  I had pasta in mind so I returned the sauce to the pot, added diced onions, minced garlic, a little red wine and a potpourri of fresh herbs.  In this case I used rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil.  I let the sauce simmer for another 30 minutes, made up some fusilli, topped it with the sauce and grated Parmesan.  That was it!
It’s easy to do – you just need to allow time for the tomatoes to cook down and for the liquid in them to evaporate.  This makes a really fresh sauce, as the slow cooking over low heat keeps much of the fresh tomato taste intact. 
The best part of it all is that there were leftovers for today’s lunch! 

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