The greenhouse is producing in great abundance and it was time to make use of all the tomato’s growing in my greenhouse. I would have taken a photo of the greenhouse to show you, but its a jungle in there, all the tomato plants are growing ceiling high, bending over, branches hanging everywhere and that doesn’t even look all that bad but in addition every year my tomato’s get some kind of “stress syndrome” (I don’t want to call it a disease since its not, its just the fact that it gets so incredible hot in the greenhouse and I can’t keep the water saturation at an even flow, so the tomato’s develop some kind of leaf wilting distress). Ok enough greenhouse “geeking”…but just in case your tomato plants look ugly but still produce nice tomato’s, then you might have the same issue I have…too much heat in the greenhouse!
My distressed tomato plants though produced some fine tomatoes because the sauce that I cooked was outstanding if I can say so :-), you can’t compare homemade pasta sauce with store bought sauce, it just hits a different type of taste bud.
Also a tip for removing tomato skins really quick: make little “Xs” into the bottom of the tomatoes, drop the tomatoes in batches into boiling water for 30 seconds and then drop them into an ice bath for 12 seconds (or more) and the skins will “rub” right off, it saves sooo much time. I had 10 pounds of tomatoes skinned in 10 minutes.
This recipe is for a big batch of sauce, so that you can freeze or can the left overs. But I have to say 12 pounds of tomatos do not make as much sauce as you think, round about 4-6 Mason jars.
For the Spaghetti Sauce:
- 12 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 hot chili pepper diced (fresh if you have, otherwise 1 teaspoon pepper flakes)
- 4-6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 – 2 cups lightly packed fresh herbs like basil, oregano and thyme, depending on how “herby” you like your pasta
For the Meatballs (makes approximately 15 small meatballs)
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- generous dash of black pepper
- dash of Italian herbs
- dash of salt
- crunchy garlic bread.
- Peel tomatoes, cut into chunks and squeeze out some of the tomato water. You don’t have to go crazy with it, just remove some of the water so that your sauce is not too watery. Transfer the peeled, cut and squeezed tomatos to a 7-8 quart heavy pot.
- Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar, black pepper, diced chili pepper, crushed garlic, 1/2 of the herbs and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 70-80 minutes or until mixture reaches your desired consistency.
- Meanwhile prepare the meatballs. Mix the meat and all the ingredients in a bowl and form small meatballs, 1 – 1,5 inches diameter. Set all the meatballs on a baking sheet.
- Once the Pasta Sauce is close to the consistency you like, preheat the oven on 325 for the meatballs and start boiling some water for the pasta. Bake the meatballs on 375 for ca. 20 minutes.
- Once the sauce is done, remove from heat and if you don’t like chunks pass through a food mill, then add the rest of the herbs. Server the pasta with the sauce, meatballs, some pepperoncini’s and some crunchy garlic bread.