Saturday, July 21, 2012

Foodie on a Budget: Summer Pomodoro Sauce

Summertime is often synonymous to me with a bounty of homegrown tomatoes and veggies. Whether I am pulling fresh zucchinis and peppers from my own garden or a family member's garden or picking up some locally grown beauties at the farmers market, it inspires me to want to create something beautiful and fresh to put on my dinner table.


This past Sunday was the start of another grocery budget challenge for me.  This time it was $5 for 6 days for 2 people.  After doing an inventory of my pantry, garden, and freezer, I concluded that I would only need to buy a loaf of bread and a package of shredded mozzarella cheese.  If you would like to read my initial post about this week's grocery budget challenge, click here.

I had a decent haul of fresh vegetables on hand so I decided that a nice pomodoro sauce was in order for Sunday dinner.  

What you will need:
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
7-8 smaller tomatoes or 3-4 larger tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small to medium zucchini, chopped (Yeah, I know. The zucchini pictured above is massive.  I only used a small portion of it. ;) )
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
7-8 basil leaves, chopped
3 sprigs of parsley, leaves removed and chopped
1 tbsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste


Heat your frying pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the olive oil.  Then add the garlic and onion, and saute for about 1 minute.  Add in the chopped zucchini and red bell pepper.  Saute until the zucchini and pepper are tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Meanwhile, slightly process the chopped tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  Only blend for a few seconds.  You want the tomatoes to still have some body to them.  

Add the blended tomatoes to the veggies and mix.  Next pour in the balsamic vinegar.  Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes. Mix in the sugar. Then add the fresh basil and parsley and cook for another minute.  At this point, taste your sauce.  If it is not sweet enough for your taste, you can add a little more sugar.  Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.  

Serve immediately over pasta.  

If you prefer a smoother sauce (like my husband does ;) ), you can let the pomodoro cool slightly and then blend in a blender or food processor for a few seconds.  

What is really great about this sauce recipe is that it is versatile.  Don't have a red pepper, but you have a green one?  Then use it instead.  You can throw in summer squash instead of the zucchini.  Don't have fresh tomatoes on hand?  Then use canned tomatoes.  Of course, fresh will taste better. ;) But being a foodie on a budget means using what you have on hand the best you can.  

I will be posting more updates (and recipes!) from my grocery budget challenge this week soon.  Be on the lookout for them! ;)