Easy Pasta Sauce at Home
It’s time for a summer flashback — one where we’re making tomato sauce! I bet you are wondering why I am blogging about tomatoes in late October. When this time of year arrives, there is the possibility that a hard frost can occur — which means the end of our harvest season for field-grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
The last time we had a hard frost, our picking crew spent three days harvesting everything from the plants. This is because after a hard freeze, cell walls will be damaged and the “fruits” will no longer be of edible quality. So if you have veggie plants or tender herbs like basil, if you’re expecting a hard frost, it’s the time to harvest everything you want to preserve.
With so much produce on hand, having several ways to preserve it will give your belly some variety over the coming months. Tomato sauce recipes are a great way to enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes long after the harvest season is over. There are many uses for fresh tomato sauce, including pasta, pizza, sloppy Joe’s, soup and meatloaf. You can also store the sauce in the freezer for up to three months, giving you plenty of time to use every drop in your kitchen creations.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce
Since we have so many beautiful tomatoes here at Eckert’s, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make several batches of marinara-style sauce for dinner and for the freezer. This versatile sauce can be served over pasta as-is or combined with browned ground beef, Italian sausage or another favorite meat. It is also a wonderful base for winter soups.
Our easy pasta sauce is a great starting point for making sauce. However, depending on what you’re using it for, you can easily modify the recipe. Adding cream or melting cheese in your sauce will give it a creaminess while extra olive oil or butter makes it richer. Another option is toadd a variety of fresh herbs — popular options include oregano, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes. If you’re adding herbs, increase the simmering time to 20-30 minutes so they can bloom.
Homemade tomato sauce
I most recently served this simple marinara sauce over penne pasta with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. I love the way the sauce allows the delicious flavor of late-season, homegrown tomatoes to really sing!
- 3 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 10 baseball-sized tomatoes or 4-5 large tomatoes)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- Several twists of fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (In lieu of parchment paper, you can use an oiled baking pan.)
- Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes or until the skins start to look wrinkled.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, sauté the garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes from oven and allow them to cool slightly.
- With a knife, gently coax the skins away from the flesh (they should come off easily) and discard them.
- Place the tomatoes in the saucepan with the garlic and mash them with a potato masher.
- Simmer the tomatoes for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- Ladle the tomato sauce into a blender or a food processor. Be sure to vent the lid because you are working with a hot liquid. (We took the handle off the lid and covered the opening with a paper towel.)
- Puree the sauce to your desired thickness.
- Serve it immediately over cooked pasta or refrigerate it until cool.
- Once fully cooled, this sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for three days or in the freezer for three months in an airtight container.