While I always enjoy a good spaghetti meal, often the sauce is the weakest link. Most major sauce brands add way too many unnecessary ingredients and have between 3-12 grams of sugar per serving. I knew I could do better and so can you.
I start with plenty of fresh tomatoes but the canned ones are fine in the offseason.
Look for plum style tomatoes.in the can. Those are just as good as fresh when necessary.
|Nothing beats tomatoes from the garden|
Start by putting a large pot of water on the stove and add a colander insert. cleaning your fresh or rinsing your canned tomatoes. I cut the stem end right off then cut them in half for the next step.
|These need more time|
When the water is boiling, go ahead and add tomatoes, as many as will fit and cover them. Steam them for at least five to ten minutes to soften the skin.
|Steam until softened|
When each batch is done (I usually do three batches) transfer them to your food mill with whatever screen you choose. I was using the medium screen but too many seeds got through so now I use the smallest size. I like this model because it has three different screens depending on the food you are processing.
|Ready for cleaning|
|The grinder easily snaps in place under spring pressure.|
Transfer your steamed tomatoes right into your food mill inside another pot and grind away. This model has some nice features, when you reverse, the slurry gets put back under the blade. I often stuff any tomatoes trying to escape back into the scraper. Be careful, they are hot!
The strained sauce will also be hot. Be sure to use your spatula on the bottom of the mill, there's sauce there!
|Seeds and skin will be separated from the meat|
|It does a nice job|
Add more tomatoes until you have a good amount of seedy pulp left.
I don't usually save the pulp, but I'm sure it could be used for something. In the meantime, I feed it to my compost bin.
At this point, the sauce is smooth but very liquid. Put it on the stove and simmer it down a bit and next we'll add some sauce magic.
Finely chop a large onion or run it through your food processor.
|My favorite tool|
Do the same with a large green pepper. (I prefer chunks of onion and pepper as well so sometimes I hold back some for later.
Shred a peeled carrot into the slurry (this will add sweetness instead of adding sugar)
Mince 2 cloves of garlic (or more or less to taste)
Add those ingredients to a bowl and mix together.
Add 1 tsp of salt (I usually wait to add salt until it's close to done)
1 tsp. of Italian Seasoning
You can add 1/2 tsp each of basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme
I prefer fresh basil, but you can add both seasoning and fresh. It won't overpower the recipe.
Mix in those ingredients and let the sauce simmer down to about 2/3 of the original volume or it starts to thicken.
I keep checking my sauce and adjust the sweetness and saltiness but always seem to keep adding herbs.
As I mentioned, my sauce is always good, but perhaps never the same. I may add anything to it from mushrooms to hamburger meat and have made it every way from smooth to chunky. I've even been known to add random veggies like zucchini, just to add to the taste and add nutrition. The sky is the limit.
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