Have you ever thought of making homemade spaghetti sauce?
One thing I always do in the Summer time with my left over garden tomato's is make home made spaghetti sauce. It's so easy and simple!
I usually make roughly about 2-3 Gallons of sauce at one time. But you can make these in smaller batches if you don't have the same freezing capabilities. I have a large freeze that I am able to use (besides my stand by in the kitchen).
There are a couple of variations. You can use regular whole sized canned tomato's if you don't have a fresh garden, fresh tomato's from the farmers market or even tomato's purchased at the regular grocery store (on sale of course!).
I find sometimes when I have run out of garden tomato's that going to Costo to purchase the Large (I think it's 50 oz) can of whole tomato's works just as well. At my Costo this can of tomato's only costs me about $3 and it makes enough spaghetti sauce for 3 meals.
I will break down the 2 different ways to make the sauce. If you have fresh tomato's this process will take slightly longer, canned tomato's (obviously) not as long.
10-12 large tomato's
1 stalk of celery - diced (celery leaves if you can - they have the best flavor!)
1/2 bag of carrots - diced
8-10 leaves fresh basil - julienned
Oregano = optional
1-2 Bay leaves
1 cup of good white wine ( you can use cooking wine as well)
1 large white onion - diced
6 garlic cloves (chopped) - if you are using already minced garlic this would be about 1-2 tablespoons
1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
The biggest stock pot you can find!
Now this is the basic sauce - you are more then welcome to add any other veggies. Depending on what's available in the garden I sometimes use zucchini, bell peppers, yellow squash. Use whatever veggie you like.
First you want to get a big pot of boiling water going (big enough to fit the tomato's submerged into water). Once the water is boiling, add a little salt. Place the tomato's (whole) into the boiling water. Watch for a few minutes until you notice the skin on the tomato's starts to split or breakaway. Once this happens remove the tomato's immediately and run under cold water. This will help pull the rest of the skin from the tomato's. Set them aside.
In the large stock pot get your olive oil going (med heat). Add the Carrots first, then onions and celery (or other veggies) last. Once those have cooked for a couple of minutes add the chopped garlic. I know that sounds backwards, but I hate burnt garlic. Since I want a stronger garlic flavor in my sauce, I don't add the garlic until I am ready to add the wine. Add in the Basil and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add about a 1/2 cup of the wine first to "deglaze" the pan. You can add as little or more as you like. I find for 2 gallons of sauce that 1 cup is good. You then let the wine cook completely out. Reduce the temperature to simmer or low.
With the tomato's from earlier you are going to want to put them into a blender or (my favorite) a hand held blender. If using the regular blender add the tomato's in with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. You want to chop but not liquefy the tomato's. You want to get the big chunks out. As it simmers it will break down additionally. If you have a hand blender, then you can add the tomato's right to the simmering veggies and then just break down each tomato. Either way is fine.
Stir everything together to combine - give a small taste test to adjust your flavors. Like adding more salt, pepper or fresh Basil or even fresh Oregano. Grab a couple of Bay leaves and throw it into the sauce, add a lid and walk away! Periodically check every 20 minutes to make sure it's not burning. You want slow bubbles, but not boiling. After about an hour your sauce may have reduced slightly. THIS IS NORMAL! It's just concentrating the flavors and making it extra yummy!
After your sauce it done cooking. Let it cool completely! I like to save a few older spaghetti jars and lids and I will fill up these jars and then place these in the freezer and a couple in the fridge. The ones in the fridge have lasted me a couple of weeks (meatless) and the ones in the freezer in the jars will last about 1-2 months. To get the longest storage and if you are restricted by space, then the best thing is to use your gallon size freezer bags. I will use a cookie sheet and add about 4 cups of sauce to each bag and lay them flat with as much air as possible pushed out of them. Laying them flat to freeze the first time will help with storing them later as you can then stack them however you like since they will be so flat! Oh! And place a piece of wax paper in between the stacks so they will come apart better after they are frozen. By freezing them this way, you can get the sauce to last about 3-4 months!
You can use this same recipe above for the whole canned tomato's as well, you would just skip the "skin peeling" step.
I hope this was useful information!
Stay tunned for idea's on what other recipes we can make out of Home Made Spaghetti Sauce!