Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pasta Sauce from Garden Tomatoes

I am blessed to be surrounded by some very generous gardeners. You see, to say I don't have a green thumb is a serious understatement. If it weren't for my sweet husband, I wouldn't even have my few containers of herbs and colorful patio plants! Recently a very nice church member shared from their surplus tomatoes.  This is a favorite time of year, when I can put together a huge pot of pasta sauce - to have for dinner that same evening but also to freeze for multiple meals that are quickly put together on a hectic night.  Pasta sauce is really very easy to pull together and the bang you get for the time you put into it is outstanding - in the appreciative 'yums' and 'umms' from your family as they enjoy it but also in the sense of old-worldly accomplishment of having made something so wonderful from such simple ingredients. 

As a frame of reference, we enjoyed a family meal the night I made this sauce and put back four quart jars of meat sauce for future meals. 

What you need:
Tomatoes - lots and lots of tomatoes! 
Garlic (prepared or fresh): we love garlic, so I used a tablespoon, or use an entire head of fresh
Tomato Paste (6 ounce can)
Oregano (dried or fresh)
Basil (dried or fresh)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ground beef (I precook then rinse to get rid of most of the fat)
Note: I use a couple of onions for approximately 3-4 dozen tomatoes.

Putting it together:
Wash your tomatoes well.  Cut the top stem and any bad spots off.  If they are particularly large, give them a quick cut into halves or quarters. Peel and chop the onions, large pieces are fine. Wash and pull the herbs from their stems, if using fresh.  Remember that if you slide your fingers down the stem from the top to the bottom, the leaves just pull off! No need to chop them because this will be done in the blender.  

Pull out your biggest stock pot with a lid and put the tomatoes, onion, tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper into it. Here is where I really save time - I don't peel my tomatoes. My husband has Crohn's Disease and we are always looking for ways to put fiber into our diet. Just put all BUT the herbs and meat into the pot, cover and turn on low. Don't add any liquids as the juice from the tomatoes will escape as they steam and be more than sufficient for the sauce. Let this simmer and stew for a couple to a few hours - the longer the better for the sauce's flavor. Just before you blend the mix (I love the immersion blender since you don't have to empty the pot and mess up the kitchen transferring hot mix to the blender - but you can CAUTIOUSLY use a standard blender) add your herbs. 

Again, my family likes lots of flavor, so we use lots of herbs. Use the amount that will please your family. Blend well, until you have a smooth sauce. Add cooked ground beef and return to the heat until all is at serving temperature. Taste your sauce now and make any seasoning adjustments at this time.  If the tomatoes taste acidic, you may choose to add a tablespoon of sugar to your sauce.  If the sauce is too thin or runny, try mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch into a couple of tablespoons of room temperature water before adding to the sauce.  

If you make enough and have some leftovers, fill quart glass jars (leave room for sauce to expand as it freezes) and store in your freezer for an easy meal that reminds you of a bountiful summer. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so yummy and couldn't be easier! Thanks for sharing.


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