- 3 pounds very ripe meaty heirloom tomatoes, peeled and seeded (seeds strained and juices reserved, about ¾ cup)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 small bunch basil, leaves removed from stems and torn in 1 inch pieces
- ¾–1 t teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that have been saved through the generations, giving them an old-fashioned flavor often lost in supermarket varieties. King Family Farm in Bradenton grows 25 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. These nutritious, flavor-packed jewels are ideal for cooking up a gift-worthy, farm-fresh marinara sauce.
Place peeled and seeded tomatoes in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and reserved tomato juice and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 45 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes separate from the olive oil; stir occasionally. Add the basil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until basil has wilted. Remove from heat. Refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to two months.
Give this gift in a glass carafe for a stylish package that can be used again. For homespun charm, wrap the carafe in fabric and hang a handmade label around the neck.