Although a good variety of fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year, they do have peak times or seasons when their flavor is at their absolute height. Mr. Cheese and I are currently enjoying the edible fruits of our labor since tomatoes are in peak season and we are picking aplenty. Other produce in peak season now through September in Virginia are blackberries, corn, tomatoes, watermelon and peppers. To find out what’s in peak season in your neck of the woods, check out your local farmer’s markets or visit the peak season map over at Epicurious.com.
One of our favorite recipes that utilizes a vegetable in peak season right now, is my Creamy Red Pepper Basil Sauce. Try it with tortellini and Italian sausage, or drizzled over grilled salmon or swordfish. The sweet red peppers compliment the basil perfectly. It is also a tasty match for a crusty piece of garlic bread.
Creamy Red Pepper Basil Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh, minced garlic
- 1 small, sweet onion, small dice
- 6 oz. roasted red peppers, chopped
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, unseasoned
- 1/3 cup white cooking wine or cooking sherry
- (2) 6 oz. cans tomato paste (I use Contadina w/no added spices)
- 1 cup fresh, chopped basil
- 2 cups heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste
How to Make It!
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the garlic, onion, red peppers until the onion appears transparent. Add the cooking wine and cook down until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste and chopped basil. Once at a bubble, turn heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 3 hours. Stir occasionally. About 20 minutes prior to service, turn the heat back to medium-low and slowly stir in the heavy cream, about a third at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yields about 6 cups