Homemade pasta sauce, made from homegrown tomatoes, is far superior to anything you're going to buy in a grocery store. If you don't grow tomatoes, head to the Farmers Market this week and buy them because tomatoes are in season and at their peak in August. I use a combination of any and all of the tomatoes I've grown, paying no attention to what the experts say are the "best" for sauce (ie: Romas). They're all good!
I found this recipe years ago online, I wish I could remember the source, but I can't. It's got a kick, so if you do not like a bit of heat, omit the red pepper flakes. And if you like a lot of heat, add more. Yes, this recipe is a lot of work but if you love fresh pasta sauce, especially in the dead of Winter when store-bought tomatoes taste like styrofoam, you won't mind that you invested a day or two into making sauce. You can freeze it, or water bath can it. I can it, because I have limited freezer space. I also think that freezing sauce changes its texture when you thaw and use it. But I'm a tomato snob.
This recipe presumes that you know how to water-bath can. If not, head to Fleet Farm and buy yourself a Canner and a case of quart size jars. Google "water bath canning" and learn how. It's easy. Or freeze this sauce in gallon size ziplock freezer bags.
Let's do this!
AMAZEballs Spaghetti Sauce
Ingredients: (Makes 8 quarts and a pint)
- 25 lbs. of homegrown tomatoes
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 large red bell peppers, chopped
- 4 (6 oz.) cans of tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce (yes, soy sauce - do not skip this! It adds richness and depth)
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp. dried basil or large bunch of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (increase to 2 tsp. if you like a very spicy sauce)
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 Tbsp. lemon juice if you are canning this sauce
- Peel the tomatoes: Drop in batches of 6 or 8 into boiling water for one minute, remove with a slotted spoon, and plunge into ice water. Slip the skins off and quarter the tomotoes. Remove some or all of the seeds. I leave half the seeds.
- Saute the peppers and onions in a large skillet with a pinch of salt. Sauteeing is not necessary, but it does add superior flavor and I highly recommend it.
- In a very large stockpot combine the tomatoes, peppers, onions and everything else on the ingredients list except the lemon juice.
- Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4 or 5 hours, uncovered, and cook down to your desired consistency. You can speed this process up by cooking for a couple of hours and then using an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes until smooth with no large chunks remaining. Or, if you're old school like me, simmer and stir every half-hour or so and enjoy how amazing your house smells. The tomatoes will cook down and break down.
- Prepare your jars. Add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to the bottom of each quart size jar (use 1 Tbsp. for pint size jars)
- Ladle hot sauce into jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims and place lids.
- Process 40 minutes in boiling-water canner.
When it's time to eat, you can add whatever else you might like to this sauce: meat, veggies, parmesan cheese. To make this into pizza sauce, add a can of tomato paste to about half a jar of this sauce and cook it till thickened.