24 February 2014

A Tomato Glut & Marinara Sauce

Growing your own tomatoes, one of Summer’s pleasures. It’s so good & satisfying just to be able to pick your own & they smell & taste so good....like they should, like real tomatoes.  Just picking them there is the smell of the vines that quintessentially summery ever so tomatoey aroma that you’ll never get from the ones bought in the supermarket.

When tomatoes first arrived in the new world they were treated with suspicion but slowly they won people over. It may have helped that the French thought they might an aphrodisiac & even called them pomme d’amour - love apple!

They are so versatile & unlike a zucchini glut I never tire of a tomato glut.  They can go in to salads & sandwiches be turned in to a sauce,  a chutney,  a paste, a soup.  They can be roasted, semi dried & are a perfect companion to pasta for a quick Summer supper. Even at the end of the season the green ones need not go to waste, they can go in to my Mum’s wonderful green tomato chutney.

Even just sliced, a drizzle of olive oil & a good sprinkle of salt & little black pepper they are bursting with flavour. Even better in a caprese salad with a little buffalo mozzarella & basil. Or in my current breakfast of choice; avocado & tomato on toast with a good sprinkle of salt & freshly cracked pepper.

They are very sociable, & are especially good friends with olive oil, butter, cream, salt, cheese, bacon & pasta....all the good things :) Not to forget basil, chives, oregano, parsley, garlic, peppers, eggplant & corn

They really are ever so easy to grow & it is so lovely to pop out to the garden on a balmy Summer evening to pick a few to pop in a salad.  And I do love a glut as it means you can preserve a little of Summer to brighten up the Winter months. Let’s be honest the supermarket tomatoes are more often than not really just a faint reminder of a what a tomato should because they are round & red, but sadly too often lacking in taste.

This weekend some have gone in to a spicy tomato chutney & a pile of them when in to this marinara sauce, well my take on a marinara sauce.  Perhaps not completely authentically Italian, but delicious nonetheless & a little Summer saved for later.

Marinara Sauce


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
2 cans of crushed tomatoes or about 800g of fresh tomatoes*
2 bay leaves
Pinch chilli flakes
Salt & pepper

*If using fresh tomatoes, make a little cross at the bottom of each tomato & place in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes. Peel the tomatoes place in a bowl & just mush it all together with your hands.


Place a large pot over medium heat & add the olive oil. Add the onions & the garlic & saute for 8-10 minutes until they are translucent but not browned.  Add the celery, carrots & a good pinch of salt & pepper.  Saute until all the vegetables are soft, another 10 minutes or so.  Add the tomatoes. bay leaves, chilli & simmer uncovered over a low heat until the sauce thickens.  This will take about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves.  Taste & adjust seasoning if need be.  Give it a quick whizz with a stick blender, just to make it a little more saucy.  I like a little texture but if you like it super smooth just whizz a little more.

Make a big batch & then little bags can be kept in the freezer for a few months & you have a quick & speedy supper ready to go.

If you like this you might like this A Glut of Tomatoes



  1. lucky you having lots of tomatoes. I bought some at Oratia Market this weekend, very old fashioned solid ones with and amazing taste. I just ate them with salt they were so good.

    1. I know right? Next I'll be harvesting the green ones for Mum's Green tomato chutney :)

  2. Mairi, I've been enjoying the tomato glut in my garden too, though I have to say the crop is definitely not as good as last year's, which was quite exceptional. Still it's nice to wander down to the garden each evening and pick a bowlful of red, yellow, purple and orange beauties. I've been making loads of marinara sauce and freezing it, but I must admit sometimes I wish that I could just keep a bowlful of those beautiful looking tomatoes on my bench forever without doing anything to them - I just love looking at them!!

    1. Hi Sue 😊 I actually wish I had more….especially all the different coloured ones. Next year 😊 And agree they just look so pretty!


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