If you’re anything like me then you start the CSA season with the intention of eating all of the produce that you get every week. You almost get it done for the first few weeks, but then summer gets underway and your friends want to meet for drinks on rooftop bars in Midtown, or your family visits from out of town for a long weekend, or you want to walk to Chinatown and eat grapefruit bubble tea and fried dumpling and vegetable pancakes because it’s just too nice of a night to go indoors, and then all the sudden it’s the first week of August and the Brita gets pushed out of the refrigerator because every shelf is bursting with produce? To alleviate some of my refrigerator crowding I decided to make something that would use as many veggies as possible and would bring me the best flavors of summer over the coming months. Being a girl that comes from a family that canned 400 jars of tomatoes every summer on a picnic table in Nonna’s backyard, tomato sauce seems like the clear best option. Though the sauce we used to make in the backyard was very simple (tomatoes, salt, basil) I decided to make a primavera version of it and add lots of veggies so it is ready to use, has substantial nutritional value, and is super versatile.
For this recipe (or non-recipe) measuring is really not important. My general rule of thumb (unless dealing with monstrous produce, which doesn’t happen often when it’s grown without GMO seeds, growth hormones, or pesticides) is 1:1:1:2:6 meaning, one pepper, one eggplant, one can of tomatoes (28 oz), two onions, and then 6 cloves of garlic (admittedly, this is a lot of garlic—scale up or down to your liking). Feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand–zucchini, portobellos, and summer squash would also work beautifully in this.
Perhaps most important when making this non-recipe is uniformly diced veggies to ensure everything will be equally tender when cooked.
This sauce is all about the vegetables in it, so the seasoning is very simple and can be adjusted to taste with ease. After sauteing the onions, peppers, and grated garlic for a few minutes, add the eggplant, and season with salt, pepper, crushed chili flakes, and dried oregano.
Let simmer until sauce has the desired tenderness, and season to taste. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Once the sauce is done you can use it on pasta, meat, or as the ‘vegetable’ piece of my Bread + Cheese + Vegetable recipe equation.