Mouthwatering, savory tomatoes blend with the bite of balsamic vinegar and garlic and the sweet of shallots to make a beautiful braised tomato dish that is perfect for dipping in with crusty bread, or topping pasta.
This Mouthwatering Braised Tomatoes recipe resulted from sheer laziness. I think many great recipes are a result of an unwillingness to complete “all the steps” of a traditional recipe and this is exactly how this recipe came to be.
My husband loves tomatoes. Marinara sauce is to him what gochujang is to me (if you’d like to see how I marry these two loves, check out my Red Sauce recipe here). This means that I usually include one marinara based pasta dish during my weekly rotation of meals.
But you know how it is. Better yet, you know me. I like simple and easy and not a lot of steps in my recipes. My favorite recipes, in fact, are those where you dump a bunch of things into a pot and let it simmer while you do more important things (like playing Animal Crossing or watching Itaewon Class). So, I came up with a “dummified” version of my red sauce, which included nothing but the basics:
- Lots of fresh tomatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 shallot
- 6 cloves garlic
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dried Italian herbs
- Bay leaves
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
So, that right there is the ingredient list. And you rough chop everything (no need to make it look pretty) and stick it in a pot and let it simmer for an hour or so, until the tomatoes are so sweet, they taste like jam. Then, I let the whole pot cool for about another hour and take an immersion blender to it in order to achieve a rustic, chunky sauce for our pasta dish.
Well, the other day, feeling even lazier than usual, I thought, “well, what would happen if I just didn’t bother to blend it?”
WITCHERY is what happened.
I fished out the bay leaves and grabbed a hunk of ciabatta bread (store bought, because we are at quarantine level lows of flour and yeast here in Chicago). I dove in, sweeping the bread right through and parting the rubied sea of tomatoes. My first bite was a sweet, garlicky explosion and I knew, then and there, that no immersion blender would take to these tomatoes.
These tomatoes are an excellent substitute for the more al fresco “bruschetta” or fabulous poured over some gnocchi. The Korean in me would mix it with a bowl of rice and roasted seaweed. The point is, you make enough to last you a few days and your meals are essentially done. What’s more? Your family will think you are the best cook of all time.
You see guys, as I often tell my clients, my job is to make YOU look good to YOUR clients. And trust me—these Mouthwatering Braised Tomatoes will do just that.
Mouthwatering Braised Tomatoes
- 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced or thinly sliced
- 1 large shallot sliced
- 1 carrot small diced
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 18-24 small tomatoes can sub 7-8 heirloom tomatoes, rough chopped
- 2-3 bay leaves
- In a large pot (I like using a massive Dutch oven pot), add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat.
- When oil is hot, add garlic, shallots, and carrots. Allow the shallots to “sweat” (i.e., cook until they start to grow translucent). Add ½ tsp of salt, a little cracked black pepper, and 1 tbsp Italian seasoning.
- Stir the veggies using a wooden spoon. When the garlic starts to turn brown around the edges, deglaze the bottom of the pot with a balsamic vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits.
- Add chopped tomatoes to pot, together with another healthy pinch of salt, and stir together the contents of the pot (so that the veggies are not all at the bottom). Next add a couple bay leaves.
- Tomatoes will begin to release liquid immediately—continue to stir gently. When liquid begins to boil, reduce heat to low and allow tomatoes to simmer for approximately 1 hour, until tomatoes have broken down (though still retaining some shape).
- Drizzle another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread or pasta.