Summer Tomato and Leek Sauce
A simple, summer sauce is the perfect way to enjoy a bounty of vine-ripened tomatoes and works beautifully as a light pasta or pizza sauce or as a flavorful topping for chicken or fish. My original plan for this sauce was to use red onion, until I saw some baby leeks at market. Leeks provide a light onion taste and are a great way to slightly vary the flavor of your favorite dishes which include onion.
For this rustic sauce, feel free to experiment with various herbs, onions, and types of tomatoes. When starting with fresh-from-the-field ingredients, it is hard to go wrong.
Anchovy paste provides flavor without tasting at all fishy. If you are still squeamish at the thought or don’t have any on hand, feel free to omit it. You may want to add a touch more salt in its place.
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
- 3/4 cup chopped leeks (washed well; use white and light green parts)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or torn
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- scant 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- optional: a few tablespoons fresh oregano or other herbs of choice, about a quarter cup of minced onion or shallots
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the leeks in olive oil until soft.
- Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours or until thick. (see note)
- During the last few minutes, stir in the basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
The the sauce pictured here was simmered for about an hour, producing a chunky end result. Simmering for the longer amount of time will allow the tomatoes to break down and will yield a thicker sauce. Choose the length of cooking time based on the consistency you prefer. It will taste great either way!