Cook to Cook: Surprisingly, I've found certain domestic canned tomatoes taste richer than most Italian imports. Yes, the San Marzano tomato is legendary, but it's nearly impossible to find any good-tasting ones in a can in America. Trust me, it's true. I use whole peeled tomatoes (not necessarily plum types) from the organic producer Muir Glen, or Hunt's, Contadina, or Red Pack (take care not to get their tomatoes packed in puree; you want only tomato juice).
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, drained, halved, and seeded (preferably Muir Glen, Hunt's, Contadina, or Red Pack)
1/2 to 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
14 large fresh basil leaves, torn
2 4-inch branches fresh rosemary
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread out the tomatoes in a large shallow pan (a half-sheet pan is ideal) and sprinkle with the other ingredients, turning to coat them with oil. Bake 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours, basting and turning the tomatoes several times. They're done when their color deepens to dark scarlet and they taste mellow and very rich. Don't let them brown, nor allow the garlic to brown, it'll turn bitter.
Transfer the tomatoes and their oil to a glass or china bowl. Let them mellow at room temperature up to 6 hours. The flavors will ripen in this time.
Refrigerate the tomatoes up to 4 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Serve the tomatoes at room temperature, or tossed with hot pasta.
From The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
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