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Spaghetti Sauce

My tomatoes have overtaken an entire half of my garden this year.  Keep in mind, I’d allocated about a sixth.  I’m not sure how it happened, but six plants have given me well over 200 beautiful, deep red, delicious tomatoes.  We eat lots of store-bought tomatoes year round, but I love, like really love, the fresh-from-the-garden variety during the summer.

Aside from all the BLT’s we can eat and a few jars of salsa, this spaghetti sauce is by far our most favorite thing to do with loads of tomatoes.  I’ve made this recipe for years with tomatoes from the canned vegetable aisle.  This year, I substituted all the cans for fresh, and holy toledo…it’s glorious.

You can make it fresh and eat it that same night, or fill a few jars and save them for later. It’s good on spaghetti or in lasagna or as a dipping sauce for some garlic cheesy bread.   Either way, the taste and the smell in your kitchen will very likely keep you from going back to Pregu every again.

So here it is…one of our all time favorites at the Smokin F, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • 130 oz of fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp. basil (fresh or paste from the produce section)
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs fresh parsley
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (can be turkey)
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice (if canning)

1. Boil a pot of water while you wash your tomatoes very well.

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2.  Using a small pairing knife, cut around the stem of each tomato and remove the core.  You can go all the way through if you’d like.  I prefer to just make a cone around the stem and save as much of that glorious tomato as possible.

3. Once your water is boiling, turn off the heat, and add as many tomatoes as will fit comfortably.  It usually takes me several batches for this.

4. Let them sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.

5. Fill another large bowl or pot with cold water.  Add 1 cup of ice.

6. Remove tomatoes from hot water and place in cold water for 5 minutes.

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7. After a few minutes, the skin on your tomatoes will start to pull away.  Using your fingers gently peel the tomatoes and let them drain in a colander until you’ve got all of your tomatoes done.  Some people scrap the skins, but I love the flavor of them and they’ll serve a fantastic purpose at the end.  So for now, set them aside in a separate bowl.

8. Repeat this process until all of your tomatoes are done.

9. Empty your boiling pot.  If you’re making this sauce for tonight, brown your Italian sausage in this same pot and then add the peeled tomatoes back into it.  If you’re planning to can it for later, I prefer to leave the meat out for now.  So just go straight to peeled tomatoes in the pot.

10. Mash them gently with a potato masher.  They don’t need to be completely smooth, just mostly mashed.

11. If you haven’t already, use a food processor or chop your garlic, onion and basil very fine.img_1081

12. Here’s my favorite part.  Those skins that you have set aside make a fantastic tomato paste that adds flavor and thickness to your sauce.  So put all of your reserved skins in a food processor or blender until they’re very smooth.  Add that paste into your tomatoes. img_1095

13.  Add the rest of your ingredients EXCEPT lemon juice to your mashed tomatoes.

14. Bring it to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 hours.  I let mine go all afternoon, giving it a good stir when I pass by the stove to keep it from sticking.

15. If you’re cooking for tonight, ding!  Dinner’s ready!

16. If you’re canning it, fill your clean jar, leaving 1/2 in headspace with sauce.  Add in 2 Tbs. lemon juice to each jar to make the level of acidity safe for canning.  (This not affect taste at all!)  Replace the lids.

17. Drop gently into your water processor, making sure you have 1 in of water above the lids.

18. Process for 40 minutes and then remove vertically.  Let cool and wait for the infamous canning pop of your lids sealing.

19. Store for up to a year.  When you’re ready to serve, brown 1 lb of Italian Sausage in a pot.  Add in a jar of your homemade tomato sauce, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until warm.

20. Enjoy!!

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