Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

In an effort to cut excessive sodium and preservatives out of my diet, I have been trying to learn how to make spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes for a while.  But, I really had trouble finding recipes that used fresh tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes so in the meantime, I tried several of my own ideas.  What I ended up with tasted good and went well with noodles and cheese, but wasn't really marinara/spaghetti sauce.  A few days ago, my husband and I were on our way to the grocery store when he told me that he wanted spaghetti.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try again.   I quickly got onto Pinterest and searched for "Marinara Sauce."  I found one that sufficed from Former Chef and bought lots of tomatoes (though not nearly as many as the recipe calls for)!

That particular recipe would have made way to much for my husband and I so I modified it a bit (for the amount and for my tastes).

Peeling Tomatoes

I also found another blog via Pinterest that explained an "easy" method for peeling tomatoes.  After doing it, I'm not sure I would call it "easy," but it was better than peeling them with a knife.  To peel the tomatoes, I set the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water (a few at a time) and left them for 1 minute.  I then transferred them to a bowl of ice water and left them for another minute or so.  Some of the tomatoes actually had a small "crack" in their skin.  Those were the easiest to peel (Photo top right - I'm not sure if you can see it but the skin just starts to open up).  For those that didn't open, I scored the tomato skin with a knife.  I learned overtime that lightly scoring all of the way around made it much easier to peel.

Note #1:  You should peel and seed the tomatoes before doing anything else.  It look longer than I expected, and I wasn't ready when it was time to add them to the sauce.

Note #2:  I just put the tomatoes in the pot in quarters, but I would suggest that you throw them in the blender or food processor for a light chop before adding them to the sauce.  I certainly will do this next time as my sauce ended up a bit chunky.

1/2 sweet onion (diced)
9-10 tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
Dry Italian Herbs
Olive Oil (for cooking the onions)
Fresh Garlic (amount depends on your tastes - maybe 2 cloves) or Garlic Powder
Red Wine Vinegar (about 1/3 cup)
Butter (1 TBSP)
Milk (optional)

Heat the olive oil in the pan.  Add the diced onion to the hot oil.  Cook on medium heat until the onions are brown.  Then add the dry herbs and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the red wine vinegar and cook for about two more minutes.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for about two hours.  About 10 minutes before the sauce is finished, add the butter.  I also added a little milk at this point because my sauce was a little thick.  If you blend or dice the tomatoes before adding them to the pot, you probably won't need the milk.

I also added ground turkey that I browned in the pan with garlic powder and onion powder.

Enjoy creating fresh food!

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