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Now's the time to make the most of your home-grown tomatoes before they're out of season, Alison Lambert says.
I used up the last of my tomatoes to make a fresh tomato sauce, which could be not only for pasta but as a base for many sauces and stews.
It also freezes brilliantly.
Home-made tomato spaghetti
1.5kg ripe tomatoes
1 Tbsp butter (optional)
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
50g fresh basil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and cracked pepper
parmesan cheese, freshly grated (for serving)
Begin by filling and boiling the kettle.
With a small knife remove the eyes of the tomatoes (core) and lightly pierce the skin at the other end.
Place the tomatoes in a large heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the water until the skin pulls away from the flesh. Drain, remove skins and discard.
In a large heavy-based saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a gentle heat without colouring for 10 minutes.
Add the roughly cut tomatoes and any juice to the saucepan with the onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bubble away until the tomatoes soften into a thick pulp.
Add half the basil, including stalks, and continue to simmer so that the tomatoes reduce to a thick sauce (this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes).
Meanwhile, half fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to the boil.
Taste the tomato sauce, add 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar and, if the tomatoes are a little bitter, add 1-2 tsp sugar. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook as directed on the packet. Drain and add to the tomato sauce, toss together and grate over a generous amount of parmesan cheese.
Serve with some torn basil and plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
• Alison Lambert is one of the demonstrators at the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin on Saturday mornings.