Three Easy Summer Garden Sauces

July 20, 2012

Lets face it. Sauces can make a dish sing.

They can elevate ho-hum taste to operatic levels. They can also rescue a cook’s less than perfect recipe results, and they can be made ahead with little effort.

I find this especially true when my vegetable garden allows me to conjure up unique sauces from the bounty before me. And because standing over a hot stove during the dog days of summer is not my idea of “ how I spent my summer vacation,” I am all in favor of uncooked sauces that are perfect with pasta, or used as toppers for fish, meat, poultry, vegetables and even bruschetta!

But hold onto your apron because the good news is that just with a little imagination, a home garden or a trip to your local farm stand could result in a plethora of uncooked sauces.

Here are three of my standby favorites.

Got tomatoes? Make a quick chopped cherry or plum tomato sauce flavored with good extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil or a combination of herbs such as basil, mint and parsley. If you want to gild that sauce even further, throw in chunks of Italian fontina or creamy mozzarella cheese. When the hot pasta hits the sauce, that cheese just melts into a dreamy, creamy consistency that is perfect with juicy tomatoes!

No respectable cook would be without pesto sauce made from spicy tasting basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and pine or walnuts. Add pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and mamma mia! Make enough to store in jars in the refrigerator and when the winter winds blow, summer will waft from your dinner plate when pasta is tossed with pesto or it is slathered on baking fish or chicken.

And don’t nuke the zuke just yet. Zucchini is not to be overlooked as an uncooked sauce. Since this prolific vegetable is mostly water, it really needs no cooking when grated, and its mild taste lends itself as a foil to tangier ingredients such as olives, mint, even hot pepper. And here is a little secret. Those bigger- than -baseball -size zucchini should not be left on your neighbors door step or the compost heap because the perfect use for them is grated into zucchini sauce. So, no sweat. Honest! Uncooked sauces rule!

If you think those sauces sound good, I have even more to share!

Click here to view all my sauce recipes.

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