Brandywine Tomato Cream Sauce with Sage for Pasta
Brandywine Tomato & Cream Sauce with Sage for Pasta
Brandywine is an heirloom tomato that wins top honors for it's delicious flavor, year after year. There is simply no better tasting tomato anywhere. It is sweet, with tender flesh that lends itself to making silky sauces when cooked. It has a high degree of flesh and very few seeds. The tomatoes can be huge...up to a pound each sometimes. You might be able to find them in farmer's markets, but the best way to get them is to grow them yourself. If you have a sunny spot, either in your yard or on a patio, they can be grown in beds or in pots. Either way, you will become addicted to this luscious tomato.
This easy recipe was created by me. My husband brought in a gigantic Brandywine tomato and said, "Here, do something with this". Here is the delicious result of that challenge.
Brandywine Tomato as BIG as My Hand!
Brandywine heirloom tomatoes are our favorite. They have the biggest, rich, sweet tomato flavor that is perfect whether eaten fresh, or cooked. They are also...HUGE! Take a look at the one that topped the charts in our garden one summer. It's hard to find Brandywines in the market.They have thin skins and don't keep well, making them hard to present well in markets. They are easily grown in pots (if you don't have room for a garden) or look for them at your local farmer's market.
- 8 cups Brandywine tomatoes cut into 1" cubes
- 1 med onion roughly chopped or sliced
- 2 sprigs of sage (6 - 8 leaves on each branch)
- 1 -2 cloves of minced garlic
- 4 tbsp olive Oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pepper to taste
- 1 lb fresh pasta
- Grated Asiago cheese
- Large Skillet
- Blender wand (optional)
- Large pot with boiling water for pasta
- Step 1 - Start heating the water in the pasta pot, and bring it to a boil while you are fixing the sauce.
- Step 2 - Heat the oil in the skillet. When hot (surface will get wavy) fry 3-4 sage leaves in the hot oil for just a minute, then remove and set aside
- Step 3 - Saute onion in the sage oil, on medium heat until onions are golden and caramelized
- Step 4 - Add garlic and saute for a minute
- Step 5 - Add chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper to taste, and one sprig of sage
- Step 6 - Increase temperature to med-high heat. Cook tomatoes until they begin to break apart and get saucy (at least 10 minutes). Taste, add seasoning, and another sprig of sage if it needs it and continue cooking the sauce down until it begins to thicken..
- Step 7 - Remove sage with tongs
- Step 8 - Insert blender wand into sauce and pulse to blend, being careful to not splash hot sauce on yourself. The sauce doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, and you can skip this step and leave it chunky if you like it that way. I like mine smoothed out a bit with the blender. This can be spooned into a stationary blender too and pureed, being careful not to put the top on, and only doing a little at a time to keep hot liquid from splashing out. Reduce heat to med-low and continue cooking while you put the pasta in to cook.
- Step 8 - Drop pasta and cook according to package directions.
- Step 9 - One minute before pasta is done, add cream and stir into sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
- Step 10 - When pasta is ready, drain it and add the pasta to the sauce. Toss it until all the pasta is coated with the sauce.
- Serve with grated Asiago cheese and crumbled, fried sage leaves.
Photo Recipe Guide - All the steps in photosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Why Brandywine Tomatoes?
Won't other kinds of tomatoes work?
NO! Brandywine tomatoes have unique characteristics that make it perfect for this sauce. Take a look at the photo of the different types of tomatoes.
The tomatoes on the top are Brandywine. Notice how dense the flesh is, and how relatively free of seed it is. It also has a thin skin. All of those factors, along with the sweet, intense tomatoey flavor of Brandywines make it ideal for this sauce. The flesh breaks down into a silky texture, and the seeds and skins aren't tough or bitter as in other types of tomatoes.
The tomatoes in the middle are regular salad-type tomatoes that you get in the store. As you can see, there is hardly any flesh on them. They are mostly gelatinous seeds that are bitter. The skins are also tough, as they have to withstand packing and handling. They will make a nasty-tasting, seedy sauce.
The tomatoes on the bottom are Italian-style tomatoes, like Roma. They are meatier than salad-type tomatoes, but they aren't sweet, and they have bitter seeds and tough skins. They are good for making spaghetti sauce, but not this recipe.
More Tomato Recipes
If you like my recipe but need more recipes for tomatoes, here are a few books you might find useful.
Variations of this Recipe
You can add a variety of things to customize this dish. Here are just a few ideas...
- Add sauteed mushrooms
- Add a sprig of rosemary while cooking. Remove before blending
- Use the sauce as a soup. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, diced tomato chunks and crispy sage sprinkles
- For non-vegetarians, add crumbled bacon or minced clams and clam juice.