Every summer I am overwhelmed by tomatoes. I dread having to peek around the edge of the garage, into the backyard, fearing that I will have another huge crop just sitting there waiting on the vines to be picked. By September and October, I am ready to start throwing them at people, just so I won’t have to make another batch of sauce. By February, however, I am grateful for taking the time to freeze so much sauce during the summer months, when B.O.B. Bob and I are having homemade sauce on our pizza. I am not a girl who chooses to buy a store-bought sauce; even my “Cheater Sauce” is still homemade. I have occasionally had to break down, but even then I will never cave in to buying Prego or Ragu; Trader Joe’s Organic Vodka Sauce is my first choice in store-bought spaghetti sauce. I dare you to get the jar open on the first try. Many hours have been spent in our house, attempting every known bottle-opening method possible, to get the lid off of this sauce. It’s an amazing pasta sauce, but sometimes it’s just not worth that much effort to make dinner. I’d rather be stuck in the kitchen with fresh from the garden tomatoes surrounding me, than wrestle with that jar. Thank goodness the tomato crop is almost finished, because the freezer is getting really full.
- 20 Cups Tomatoes, Roughly Cut
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Pound Italian Sausage
- 5 Large Carrots, Peeled and Shredded
- 2 Large Sweet Onions, Finely Diced
- 1/4 Pound Prosciutto, Finely Diced
- 1/2 Garlic Bulb, Finely Minced
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg (Just a Pinch)
- 1/2 Cup Basil, Torn
- Cook the tomatoes for 30 minutes, over medium-high heat, in a large Dutch oven with a lid on.
- Strain the tomatoes to remove skins and seeds.
- Over medium heat, brown the Italian Sausage in olive oil.
- Add carrots, onions, and prosciutto to the Dutch oven; saute for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and basil; saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the strained tomatoes.
- Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes; until your sauce reaches the consistency you desire.
- Amounts do not have to be exact when making this recipe. Salt, pepper, garlic, and basil amounts can vary depending on your own specific taste.
- Tomato sauce is like hot lava when it hits your skin, or a cat’s fur; be careful when straining the tomatoes.
- “Cheater Sauce” – If you don’t have a garden, you can replace the fresh tomatoes with canned. I typically use two large (28-oz.) cans of tomatoes. Canned tomatoes will not have any skins on them, so if you don’t mind the seeds, you can skip the straining process. The overall cooking time will probably be less as well.
- The carrots in this recipe help to break down the acidity of the tomatoes; I don’t suggest leaving them out, especially if you have problems with heart burn or acid reflux.
- Use whatever meat you have on hand; ground beef, turkey, or chicken all make a wonderful tomato sauce. You may have to add more seasoning if using an unseasoned meat.
- Oregano is used in most tomato sauces. I leave it out because I just don’t happen to be a huge fan of it. Add a teaspoon or two when you add your basil into the sauce.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 09/24/2013
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