Best Tomato Sauce

Have I got a trick for you! Many of you avid gardeners may already know about this little tidbit, but I’ve made an exciting discovery! Well, actually, it was passed along to me from my friend, Pam. Each year she has the kind of garden that should be featured in a magazine.

We all love the taste of a freshly picked tomato. There’s nothing quite like it! Unfortunately, those delicious summer tomatoes aren’t available all year long. Or are they? As the gardening season was winding down here in Northern Nevada late last summer, Pam brought me a huge basket of her tomatoes. Now, the girls and I love tomatoes, we can really put them away, but that basket was a bit daunting even for the ‘mater eaters we are. Pam told me not to worry about them going to waste. Just wash them thoroughly, put them in freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. Pam said when I was ready to use them I could simply take out the amount I needed, run them under hot water and the skin would peel right off. Then I could just throw them in whatever sauce, stew or soup I was cooking.  What??? Could this be possible?

So, I followed her directions. Washed them, put them in the freezer and kept looking at them each time I opened my  freezer door. I would reach past them for frozen peas, corn on the cob or broccoli. I rearranged them when we got our 4-H hog back from the butcher. It had been months and there were those tomatoes; still waiting in the freezer, frowning in disapproval at me for the last few cans of stewed and diced tomatoes I bought and used instead of them.

Just wash 'em and toss "em in a freezer bag. Slice 'em in half if you'd like

Just wash ’em and toss “em in a freezer bag. Slice ’em in half if you’d like

Well, just recently I was making a spaghetti sauce (recipe below) and it calls for 1 large can of stewed tomatoes. I reached into my pantry and was pulling out my can of tomatoes when I thought of those tomatoes waiting patiently in my freezer. Alright! That’s it! We’ll see if this trick really works. Forget those canned tomatoes! I pulled out a freezer bag full of tomatoes, guesstimated how many tomatoes equals a can of stewed tomatoes. (I decided on 2 large and 2 small) I rinsed those tomatoes under hot water and low and behold, the skin slipped right off! They were still frozen so I couldn’t cut them into chunks so I dropped them right into my already simmering sauce. What-do-ya-know? It works! The sauce was amazing! My cans of tomatoes are still stacked neatly in the pantry.

A friend shared this recipe with me from allrecipes.com I have a couple of picky eaters that do not dig “chunks” in their sauce. They wrinkle their nose at the glimpse of anything green and make outright gagging noises if they spot a mushroom! This sauce has passed their taste test – it’s great for spaghetti and fabulous in lasagna. It can even be made without the meat if you’d like to add meatballs separately. The only change I made other than substituting my frozen tomatoes is to use a little less fennel. Just a preference. I usually make a double batch and freeze the extra. Enjoy!

For this batch I omitted the meat and used meatballs instead.

For this batch I omitted the meat and used meatballs instead.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. Italian Sausage

1 lb. ground beef

½ cup minced onion

2 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (or 2 large & 2 small frozen whole tomatoes)

2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste

2 (6.5 oz.) cans tomato sauce

½ cup water

1 ½ tablespoons sugar (I use brown sugar)

½ teaspoon fennel seeds (I use slightly less – you can even omit this one altogether if you’re not a Fennel fan)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon salt (I prefer course kosher or sea salt)

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

½ cup chopped fresh basil

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 1 ½ hours your sauce is ready to go. Use it for lasagna, spaghetti or even poured over breaded eggplant. It also freezes beautifully!

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One Response to “Best Tomato Sauce

  • Michele hill
    2 years ago

    Hey Ashley, your mom sent me u blog.. My mom use to make the most awesome tomato sauce and I have longed to taste it again… Gonna try this! tHx!

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