I look forward to summer tomatoes the way some children feverishly anticipate Christmas morning, counting down the weeks until they appear at my farmers’ market.
But just like a child surrounded with too many gifts, I admit to feeling a little overwhelmed by the bounty when tomato season is in full swing. I try my best to do right by them, serving tomatoes in salads, sandwiches, and savory tarts. But when all those red beauties start to overtake the counter, I pull out my biggest saucepan and get to work on a big batch of fresh tomato sauce.
The best tomatoes for sauce are Romas (also known as plum tomatoes), because they’re meaty and have less water than other varieties. Once peeled and seeded, they cook into a richly flavored sauce in about an hour.
That big pot of sauce means some great weeknight meals. After I use some to top pasta for dinner the first night, it becomes the foundation for deeply flavored dishes like a curried stew loaded with summer vegetables, Greek-spiced lamb meatballs, and grilled pizzas topped with even more fresh tomatoes.
And because this sauce freezes so well, you can enjoy the essence of summer’s flavors long after the last tomato plant has withered— insurance of the seasonal kind.