I’m back to my bad sleeping habits, which only means good things for all of you. The good news is my running streak is still going strong. I feel so alive, and so healthy. I’m drinking more water, and actually eating less. The latter being very unintentional; I’m simply not as hungry as I was before. In truth, the hunger was more grazing from boredom. I know, the idea of me being bored sounds ludicrous, considering I’d need to clone myself in order to accomplish everything on my To Do list. Boredom can come in many forms, though, and for me I hit a wall emotionally, physically and mentally.
Paris was a game changer, for so many reasons. I started to feel more clear about the uncertainty of the long term. Unlocking this door has allowed me to focus on the here and now better. Not worrying about the far ahead future is helping me to appreciate the often overlooked moments that nourish my emotional appetite for happiness and peace.
This morning’s run was an especially important one. I was hesitant about it, but as I looked straight ahead, it all clicked. It was time to move on, literally. My feet glided down Columbia Street, as I passed the invisible barrier of my previous running life. I crossed the threshold beyond where I used to run when M was alive, running a half mile more than I used to. It felt like an incredible accomplishment considering I just picked up running again, consistently, two weeks ago. A lump rose into my throat, reminding me that every step I take forward is one more step away from my old life. The more I think about it, perhaps this is why I kept finding excuses to not get back into a running routine.
None of this has anything to do with tomato sauce, but I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you all for a few months now. It was inspired by Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter. The first time I made her original recipe was just last summer, and I can’t believe it took me that long. Oh, if only M had been able to taste it. Her original recipe is but four humble ingredients—fresh tomatoes, an onion, butter and salt. What happens after a 45-minute simmer over a very low flame is just short of divine intervention.
This summer I made my own variation, using her low and slow method, but with one key twist. I used olive oil instead of butter, making it dairy-free and safe for canning for the winter season. I’m not going to pretend this sauce is better without the butter. It is in a class all by itself, and funny enough Isabella likes it better this way. Virginia and I will gladly lick the pot clean of both versions, and since I’m bigger, I can definitely wrestle the pot away from her for the last swipe with a piece of bread.
But I digress; back to the sauce. Since I was already taking liberties with the oil, I decided to throw in some basil, too. In the height of the summer, I used fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. Now that we are full-swing into fall, I’ve swapped in canned tomatoes and my homemade dried basil. Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have the last few months. It’s sure to be a keeper around here for years to come.
Slow Simmered Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
One 28-ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes, whole & peeled
1 medium onion, skim removed & cut in half (leave the root intact)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of dried basil
Salt, to taste
Pinch of natural cane sugar, optional
Add the tomatoes to a blender, and puree until smooth. You can alternately just crush them with your hands into the skillet if you don’t mind a chunkier-style sauce.
Add the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, basil, salt and sugar to a deep skillet set over low heat. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes at this low heat setting. Around 20 minutes into the cooking time, you’ll start to smell the magic happening. Don’t worry about the sauce bubbling gently, that’s supposed to happen.
After 45 minutes, the sauce is ready to serve, or you can transfer it to canning jars and process in a hot water bath for long term storage.