Summertime usually means that the farms in California are filled with luscious fruit and vegetables. This year the tomatoes were especially ruby red and fragrant. I was gifted a few boxes of the juicy gems, so I made some gravy, old school style. (My grandmother would call it gravy, but my niece just calls it spaghetti sauce.)
The process is long, but not hard. Straight from the field the tomatoes are pretty, but dirty. I wash, destem, and cut them in large chunks. In a large pot I first sauté garlic in olive oil with fresh parsley and basil. Once it smells like dinner, I dump the tomatoes in and let them cook down. This can take up to 30 minutes. I stir and check on them, just to make sure they stay happy.
Once the tomatoes are cooled, it is now time to make the sauce. The cooked tomato mixture gets puréed in a blender and we start the cooking process again. In a large pot the garlic, parsley, and basil get sautéed in olive oil. Then the chopped onion and mushrooms get stirred in. Now things are getting fun. As I stand over the pot and see how they all blend together the smell starts to fill the kitchen. Salt and pepper get added in. Then the tomato purée goes in with the meat. My Grandma would cook a roast in there. I just use Italian sausage, but meatballs are also heavenly.
A pot of sauce on the stove all day fills the kitchen with love. Oh happy day!
[Img.Src: Tomatoes from Puerto Rico, 1942. 5 New Tomatoes, 1920]