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Authentic Pomarola (Tomato Sauce)

2-3 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut into pieces
1 clove garlic
1 stick celery about 6 inches long
1 small carrot
1 quarter onion
1 bunch parsley
1 fresh or dried hot pepper, with the seeds discarded (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
1 bunch basil

Pomarola can be made either with or without sauteing the other
vegetables. If you saute them the pomarola will be richer, and if
the tomatoes aren't vine ripened, you may want to. However, the
sauteing does curb the tomatoes taste of the sauce, so if your
tomatoes are of the really good vine ripened variety, you will want
to forgo it. Also, pomarola made without sauteiing is easier to
digest.

If you do decide to saute, start by mincing the onion, garlic,
celery, carrot, red pepper, and parsley. Saute them in a couple
tablespoons of olive oil, seasoning the mixture with salt and
pepper; meanwhile, core and cut up the tomatoes. As soon as the
onion has turned translucent, add the tomatoes to the pot and reduce
the heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking, stirring
occasionally, till the tomatoes begin to fall apart. If you decide
not to saute, place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cut up
tomatoes, and parsley in a pot, add just a few drops of water, and
simmer till the tomatoes begin to fall apart.

Regardless of the procedure you chose, once the tomatoes are cooked,
you should crank the pomarola through a food mill, discarding the
skins and seeds. Or, if you would rather, puree the sauce in a food
processor. If you do, you may want to add a half teaspoon of sugar
to counter the tartness of the tomato skins (many Italians do). In
either case, return the sauce to the fire till it has thickened
somewhat, and a drop on a plate no longer gives off a huge watery
halo.

When the sauce is done, stir in the basil leaves and turn off the
heat. Transfer the sauce to a clean quart jar and pour a thin
layer of olive oil over it to seal it from the air. Once it's
cooled, refrigerate it. Figure about a quarter cup of pomarola
per serving. After you've cooked and drained the pasta, stir in
the pomarola and a dab of butter, then serve it with grated cheese.

Note: if you get a hankering for pomarola before tomato season
begins, you can use canned plum tomatoes. You'll probably want to
sautee the herbs in this case.

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