30 Minute Fresh Tomato Marinara
4 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh herbs (such as basil, or a combo of basil, parsley, oregano, and/or thyme)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
Additional fresh chopped herbs, to taste (optional)
Cut tomatoes into chunks. Using your hands, squeeze them into bits over a large, deep bowl or pot, including juices. (Alternatively, you may pulse them a few times in a food processor.) Set aside.
In a large pot set over low heat, sauté minced garlic in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Add tomatoes and juices to pot, place fresh herb bunch on top, raise heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When sauce has thickened and reduced, remove herb stems. Stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings. If desired, add crushed red pepper flakes and additional fresh chopped herbs. Use an immersion blender or food mill to slightly puree sauce. (Or you may allow sauce to cool and pulse it in batches in a food processor. Do not over-process...a bit of texture should remain.) Serve warm or allow to slightly cool and store in a container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.