It is that time of year again when I begin to use up whatever is in the freezer to make room for this new year’s garden produce. Last summer, instead of canning the garden tomatoes like I usually do, I diced and froze them in plastic bags with a few basil leaves. I was not sure if I would like the texture of a frozen tomato, and, while they are not as firm as fresh tomatoes, the frozen tomatoes have a brighter, more garden-fresh flavor than home-canned tomatoes. They have been great for soups and stews and this easy, flavorful pasta sauce. You can use any variety of olives you like, but I prefer kalamata for this recipe.
Pasta with Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 c. diced tomatoes
1/3-1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. dried basil (or more to taste)
1/2-1 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
12 pitted kalamata olives
2-1/2 Tbsp. capers, rinsed
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti
Begin by filling a 5-quart pot full of water and bring to a boil for the pasta. Add salt to the pasta water. In a sauté pan combine oil, onions, and garlic. Turn heat to medium and slowly cook the onions until they begin to soften. Puree tomatoes in a blender with water until smooth. Add tomato purée to the onions and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add spices, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste and add more spices according to your liking. Lower heat to a simmer. Cook 7-10 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Add olives and capers. Cook 5-7 minutes longer. Cook pasta while sauce is simmering. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat pasta with sauce. Let cook 2-3 minutes. Serves 4.