Here’s a way to use tomatoes and other summer vegetables like squash, zucchini, and eggplant: create a chunky tomato concoction and then use it in a variety of ways.
This week, I chopped up tomatoes, patty pan squash, and garlic.
Last week, it was tomatoes, onion, zucchini, and a quarter pound of ground beef. Both times, I’ve thrown in a can of tomatoes to stretch the sauce because tomatoes cook down so much. I also visited Lucy’s herb garden for some thyme, oregano, rosemary, and basil.
The first step is heating some olive oil over medium. I’ve been using about a quarter of a cup. Then add the squash, onion, and garlic. (If you’re using globe eggplants, you’ll want to purge them first. Asian eggplant won’t need it, though.)
This gives the squash a little extra time to cook. If you’re adding meat, brown it after the squash has gotten soft.
Then add the tomatoes and the herbs. A little wine is good here, too.
If you’re using basil, though, don’t add it with the other herbs. Wait till the end.
After it’s all bubbled away for about 10 minutes, cover and simmer for an hour or more.
At this point, you can cool the sauce and put it in the fridge for another day or start using it right away.
The easiest thing to do is serve it over pasta.
It also makes excellent bruschetta.
Here are some other ideas:
- toaster pizzas on pita bread or English muffins
- baked casseroles (like lasagna) with pasta and lots of cheese
You could also freeze it and get back to it in a month or three.
It’s not the most efficient use of produce considering how much everything cooks down. But it’s delicious and gets the cooking done ahead of time for a busy summer week.