Sometimes, when you are trying to eat locally and seasonally, it seems you can get into a bit of a rut, and if it’s close to payday or you’re just day or two away from getting your next local box, you can find yourself making the same thing you just made a few days ago. When this happens, its things like sauces that can help spice a meal up. Recently I was making baked chicken and skillet potatoes again, and as we had just had this the week before, I decided to make a sauce to make the meal different and more interesting.
You can’t get ore summery than fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vine and beautiful fresh green basil. This sauce makes good use of these items, often in abundance at this time of year, by mixing them with some dairy staples of butter, cheese and cream. Easy to make, delicious to eat on just about anything. Enjoy!
Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
1 large fresh tomato or 6 large cherry tomatoes
8 basil leaves
3 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp cream cheese
1 cup cream (or ½ cup cream, ½ cup milk for a lighter sauce), plus more as needed
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Dice your tomatoes and ribbon your basil.
2. In a large saucepan (I prefer non-stick for sauces but I know some people shy away from using teflon), over medium heat, saute the tomatoes and basil in one tablespoon of your butter for just a few minutes, until the tomatoes are tender.
3. Spoon your tomatoes and basil mixture into your food processor and puree. Set aside.
4. Return the saucepan to medium heat, and add your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, as well as the two tablespoons of cream cheese, to the pan and, using a small whisk, stir constantly until completely softened.
5. Gradually add your cream (and/or milk) to the butter/cream cheese mixture, whisking continually.
6. Add the parmesan cheese, spreading it evenly over the pan, and whisking thuroughly into the sauce until smooth.
7. Add the tomato/basil mixture and stir in completely. Bring up to a gentle simmer on medium low heat for just a few minutes, stirring frequently, until all the ingredients are mixed well. Taste the sauce at this point and check for needed salt and/or pepper.
If you find the sauce is either too thick, whisk in a little more milk; if too thin, add another tablespoon of cream cheese. This sauce is versatile and, if thinned with another ½ cup of milk or tomato sauce, could be a great topping for pasta as well. Bon Appetit!
-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife
photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller