Recipe for Natasha's Home-style Special Tomato Sauce
Adapted from “Special Tomato Sauce” in Carla Capalbo's Italian cookbook
1. Plan to take a vacation day. This will take the better part of first half of the day and afterwards you'll be too tired to do anything else.
2. Plan that vacation day on a rainy day. This will make step 3 more rewarding.
3. Go to the farmers market early in the morning for as many of the ingredients as you can. The sauce will taste better with locally grown produce. The tomatoes in the photo are from Blanchard, OK. Also, there will be less of a crowd at the farmer's market and you'll have time to chat with the vendors. 4. Wash the tomatoes after you get home. While they dry off, heat the toaster oven to 350°. Line a small pan with foil. Chop the tops off 3 large bulbs of garlic, place on the pan and fill from the top with olive oil. Bake for about an hour or until your family complains about the smell of garlic. 3 heads is too many for the sauce, but you can freeze the leftovers in a Ziploc to use later. After the garlic cools, run it through the food processor to make it smooth.
5. Get chopping! 9 average sized tomatoes (I bought 10, 1 was rotten!)
1-2 large carrots or a good handful of baby carrots
3-4 stalks of celery
1/2 – 1 white onion. (I prefer less, more is fine though)
Fresh basil and oregano if you want (I used dried)
Get your biggest pot out. I used a “stock pot” to avoid more than necessary mess. Pour enough olive oil in the pan to just cover the bottom. Sauté the onions on medium heat until they start to get a little brown.
While the onions are cooking, run most of the tomatoes, the carrots and celery through the food processor. If you want the sauce more chunky, don't run the processor as long.
Pour all the veggies in with the onions. Add the garlic and spices. Season with sea salt and pepper as desired. Before you add too much, let it cook for awhile until it is bubbly (20-30 minutes) and hot all the way through. You can taste and see if you want more garlic (remember there is plenty!), salt or pepper.
After re-seasoning, continue to cook until the amount of liquid has been reduced and the sauce is of a desired consistency. It will not be as thick as store bought sauce, but will taste a million times better!
Serve with pasta of choice and Italian cheeses such as Romano, Asiago and parmesan. Grilled chicken or sausage is good if you want to add meat.
This will make a lot. Be sure to have some quart freezer bags on hand and freeze the leftovers in appropriate sizes for your family. Freeze flat for easy defrosting.