When you grow lots of tomatoes in the garden, you need to figure out what to do with them. While my garden harvest this year wasn’t as large as years past, I still feel a thrill in using stuff from my own garden to make dinner. I used about 1 lb of roma tomatoes from our garden, and 3 lbs of plum tomatoes from our local farm market.We eat a lot of pasta, so spaghetti sauce is a great choice for us. I generally use this recipe as a base, to which I add sausage & mushroom, ground beef, or other ingredients. Though I’m sure it could hold its own.
- 1 onion
- 3 or 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 lbs plum or roma tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Finely chop onion and garlic. spread at the bottom of a cookie sheet or baking pan. If a cookie sheet, it must have a lip to trap the liquid.
- Cut off the stem portion of the tomatoes, and cut them in half lengthwise. cut out the core and spoon out the seeds. I’ve heard some people say that the seeds & pulp are a very tasty part of sauce but they are quite watery and I like a thick sauce.
- Place the tomatoes skin side up on top of the onions/garlic. You will probably need to do this in a couple batches. Seed the peppers, cut them into quarters, and lay them in the pan alongside the tomatoes.
- Bake tomatoes for 25 minutes. Switch to broiler on high, and broil close to flames for 5 minutes. This should roast/crispify the skin a bit.
- Let the tomatoes and peppers cool a bit, then peel off the skins. Place tomatoes, onions, peppers and any liquid into a food processor (or use a blender stick in a bowl). Blend enough to get the consistency of crushed tomatoes.
- Add blended ingredients and remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours. Leave the lid off, and stir occasionally. You might want to skip the sugar, but personally I found it was the ingredient that changed the stewed tomatoes into a taste more like pasta sauce.
The goal of a good pasta sauce is to coat the spoon with red sauce. When you finish cooking, you may find that the sauce is still watery and doesn’t give a good coating. In the past, I’ve added a small can of tomato paste, this generally fixes the issue. This time, I used my immersion (stick) blender to further reduce the solids and thicken the sauce, I think it worked very well. I like a bit of chunk to my sauce, so I didn’t blend so far that it was totally smooth.
The end result: 3 pints (3 lbs) of sauce that I will freeze. In the end, it does seem like a pretty small payoff for quite a bit of work, but it’s pretty darn tasty.