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Marjoram and Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

Nov 12 2015

Marjoram and Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

I have always made my own fresh tomato sauce by cooking down roughly chopped plum tomatoes in some garlic and olive oil. Which once you do, you will never want to buy a jar from the supermarket ever again. However, back in 2011 when there was a crazy abundance of cherry tomatoes, I switched over to cherry tomatoes as my tomato sauce base, and I rarely go back. They are quicker to cook, and have a delicious, slightly sweet concentrated flavor. Basil is often considered the go-to herb for tomato sauce, but I prefer fresh marjoram. It has the most amazing aroma that captivates the sweetness of the little tomatoes so well.

To make this sauce I start with about 3 pints of mixed cherry tomato varieties. If you live in NYC, be sure to stop by the Eckerton Hill Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket. They have a wonderful variety of tomatoes, including teeny tiny “Wild Mexicans”, which you could also use. I usually grab a couple red and one yellow pint. I rinse them in the sink, and remove the little green stem from the top. Leave them whole, but if you use slightly larger ones, slice them in half. In a medium sized pot, heat up about 3 tablespoons olive oil with 2 cloves of fresh garlic smashed with the side of your knife, and peel off the skin. Let the garlic infuse on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the tomatoes in one go. They will sizzle a lot in the hot oil, so cover them quickly and let them cook for a few minutes before removing the lid to add a hefty pinch of good quality sea salt. Turn the heat down and cook them for about 20 minutes on low heat, covered. They will burst open and the juices will cook down and turn into a lovely thick sauce. At the end, I adjust the salt and add the fresh marjoram. I like to pair this simple sauce with spaghetti. Don't forget to reserve about 3/4 of a cup of the pasta cooking liquid to add back into the pot when you combine the pasta with the tomato sauce.