"To the world you may be one person...but to one person you may be the world..."

About Me

I grew up in a village of 500 people and now live in a beach town of 10 000. Wife to Jeff, Mama to Makenna and Jack. This is my place to share what's up with us, and the place where I sometimes need to pour my heart out about the not so sunshiney moments. This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by :) Copyright 2012 by Melissa Wormington, that no part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without permission from the publisher.
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The Wormingtons

The Wormingtons
Jeff, Makenna, Jack and Melissa. Spring 2012. Photo credit: Tricia Denomme/Hope Photography

Monday, September 6, 2010

Homemade Pasta Sauce!

Homemade Pasta Sauce

16 cups peeled tomatoes
1 cup peppers (can be one colour or a mixture of various colours)
4 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup dried parsley
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsps Oregano
2 tsps Basil
3 tbsps pickling salt (table sat works fine too)
3 tbsps sugar
4 small cans OR 1 big can of tomato paste
1 cup vinegar
2-3 bay leaves
Any other veggies you would like to add...see below. here goes. We had peeled our tomatoes earlier and froze them, so first we had to thaw them. Each ziploc bag is approx 4 cups when it is pureed (1 tomato = roughly 1 cup), so we thawed 4 bags in a sinkful of water.

When pretty much thawed, "Puree", "Liquify" "Blend" "Chop" or whatever, tomatoes, until juicy, and until you have 16 cups. Our blender holds 5 cups at a time.

"Teachable Moments" for Makenna include finding the "chop", blend" (or whichever) buttons, learning the proper way to use a blender, learning what we do with the tomatoes that grew in our garden, how to read and execute a recipe, etc etc etc...

For Jack it's just about being a part of it...

Add all of the liquified tomatoes to large roasting pan or dutch oven

We decided to add some beans from Jeff's mom's garden, a la Jessica Seinfeld, as this is the only way 3 out of 4 of us will eat such a way that we can't taste them...and I promise you, you can't taste them in this, puree them up too, as if you were making baby food out of them.

Add them to the sauce. I know it looks kinda gross, but it goes away, I promise.

Chop the onions (this is our equivalent to 4...also from our garden). Jeff chopped and pureed these and them added them to the sauce.

The peppers (green pepper from our garden) and add ins we decided on (mushroom and grated carrot, again, a la Jessica Seinfeld...and because it was a good way to use of the 2 carrots left in my fridge before they went bad). Now, whether you puree these or not depends on how "chunky" you like your pasta sauce. We pureed the peppers and left the mushrooms and carrots as is. Add the pureed stuff to your sauce.

Add everything else but bay leaves. Pictured here is the garlic, oregano and basil

Jeff was just adding things in random order by this point while I was trying to keep up with the camera ;) Here the above 3 things as well as sugar, salt, oil and vinegar has been added.

A minute later, here we've added the tomato paste and parsley

Finally the add ins we had decided to leave as is - the carrots and mushrooms.

All these extra veggies make for a pretty healthy sauce, and a good way to sneak those veggies in...except for Makenna, who eats her pasta without sauce to begin with. We also use this sauce to make our lasagnas though, so she does get it that way. Yeah, she'll eat lasagna, but not pasta sauce...

I know.

Anyways, stir it all up and lay the bay leaves on top. See, you can't even tell the beans are in there now.

Some people do all this in a dutch oven on the stove, we choose the roasting pan in the oven route. So then we put the lid on and it goes in the oven for 3 - 3 1/2 hrs at 325 degrees.
Enjoy the smell that fills your home.

After 2 1/2 hrs this is what it looked like:

Tasted really good, but wasn't thick enough for us. We expected this, as the tomatoes get quite watery when thawing after being frozen, which in turns adds a lot of water to the sauce. Jeff's mom makes her sauce in a dutch oven on the stove and says the constant boiling helps to boil the excess water off.

So what we did was stir a cornstarch/water mixture into the sauce and then put it back in the oven for another hour. Cornstarch is a thickening agent for pretty much anything. It will also thicken a bit more after removed from heat.

After 3 1/2 hrs, here is the finished product:

You'll notice there is no sign of the sign of the beans...and I guarantee, you can't taste them.

When done, spoon the bay leaves out. You'll need to go fishing for them, they will no longer be laying on top as you can see above. I take them out because Jeff's mom tells me to, but I think it's because they are still pretty much intact, and wouldn't be that attractive in a plate of pasta.

The tomatoes, green peppers, and onions came from our garden. We already had everything else at our house except for the tomato paste, mushrooms and red pepper. Each can of tomato paste was $0.47, so in total, all we spent today was about $3 to make this much sauce:

Each container does our family for one meal. We use a couple at a time when making lasagna.

9 containers, plus, we had it for supper tonight...

So enough for 10 meals for us. A bit less if we use some of it for lasagna.
I love using the tomatoes from my garden up this way. However, after doing this I still have 10 bags of frozen tomatoes

And tons more still coming up in the garden...we had a good year with tomatoes.

And we still have plenty of green peppers coming in the garden. We'll make this again a bit later in the fall and we plan to make chili sauce too, but that will still leave plenty of if you have a good salsa recipe, please, send it my way!

Footnote: I do have the Deceptively Delicious Cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld and really like it. For more info, click on the link to it in my "Worth Reading" box.