Friday, August 23, 2013

Homemade Fresh Tomato Spaghetti Meat Sauce

A homemade spaghetti meat sauce made with fresh tomatoes and ground beef.

Homemade Fresh Tomato Spaghetti Meat Sauce

There is not a thing wrong with shortcut spaghetti sauce - I use a semi-homemade version of one myself most of the time. It's a quicker version that takes canned pasta sauce and jazzes it up a bit to give it homemade flavor. I've been making it that way forever, and it's a great recipe when you want a good sauce in a hurry. My husband loves it, and that's good enough for me.

If you have never made a homemade sauce from fresh tomatoes though, this is the time of year to do it when tomatoes are at their best. While canned tomatoes make for a great sauce, and you can certainly substitute them here too, the flavor is just outstanding when fresh tomatoes are at their peak.

This is my big batch, homemade spaghetti sauce, because if you're going to go to the trouble of making a homemade red sauce from fresh tomatoes, you may as well make enough for planned leftovers. Baked ziti or lasagna, anyone? This sauce freezes beautifully, and that's exactly what I do!

I prefer to serve my sauce with thin spaghetti or vermicelli pasta, tossing a little sauce with the cooked and drained noodles, then topping each serving with sauce.
One of my favorite kitchen tools this time of year is my Zyliss soft skin peeler. I love this gadget for the way that it zips through tomatoes and peaches. No more boiling, and that is worth the price of admission alone. I actually have another soft skin peeler that came with a set of peelers I purchased, but it doesn't hold a candle to the Zyliss. Pick one up at your local kitchen store, or on Amazon with your next purchase there. You can buy it individually, or in a set, and I promise that you'll love it!

Zyliss soft skin peeler.
Let's get to making this sauce y'all! Here's how.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add 2 cups of chopped onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic - I use plenty here - 2 tablespoons, chopped, and cook another minute.


Stir in a 6 ounce can of tomato paste and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. I actually brown the tomato paste in a little oil in a skillet on its own, but I figured most folks don't want to dirty up another skillet. It works pretty good this way too.


Add 8 cups of tomatoes that have been peeled, chopped and all the juices retained along with 1-1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. If you're using canned tomatoes, just cut the tomatoes up in the can with a pair of kitchen shears, then add them with their juices to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can puree this using an immersion blender if you like, or you can leave it chunky.


Add 2 pounds of ground beef to a separate skillet and cook until lightly browned. You may also want to use others meats such as ground venison or bulk pork sausage or a combination of them.


Drain off any excess fat and add the beef to the sauce along with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper. If you have fresh herbs, absolutely substitute them!


Stir in 1 cup of beef stock or broth and 3 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce. Bring the mixture up to a boil, reduce and simmer, over medium low, covered, for 2 hours or longer. Taste, stir in 2 teaspoons of dried parsley and Cajun seasoning to taste, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.


Dig in and enjoy!


I do another smaller version using canned tomatoes, slightly different from my semi-homemade version, and I'll get that one up over the winter hopefully, but certainly during the time of the year when local tomatoes aren't at peak and in season, or when you just don't have any nice tomatoes, you can still make this sauce using a good quality canned whole tomato product.

I really like the San Marzano Italian style tomatoes from Cento and I use 1 large (1 pound 12 ounce) can of the whole tomatoes and 1 large (1 pound 12 ounce) can of pureed or crushed tomatoes.


Recipe: Homemade Fresh Tomato Spaghetti Meat Sauce

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 2 hours 30 min | Yield: About 12 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
  • 8 cups of peeled and chopped tomatoes, juices retained
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of beef stock or broth
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomato paste and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, or if using canned, cut the tomatoes up in the can with kitchen shears, then add them with their juices and bring to a boil; reduce to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree with an immersion blender if desired, or can leave chunky.

Cook ground beef in a separate skillet, drain off fat and add to sauce along with the Italian seasoning, basil, bay leaves, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir in the beef stock and tomato sauce, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer over medium low, covered, for 2 hours or longer. Taste, stir in parsley and Cajun seasoning, if using, and adjust seasonings as needed.

Cook's Notes: While it will vary on the size of the tomatoes, you'll need about 5 to 6 large tomatoes or somewhere around 4 pounds total. Out of season, substitute 1 large (1 pound 12 ounce) can of whole, Italian style tomatoes and 1 large (1 pound 12 ounce) can of pureed or crushed tomatoes for the fresh. I like to use Cento brand San Marzano Italian style tomatoes. Some canned tomatoes contain sugar, taste before adding any sugar. This recipe makes approximately 12 to 14 cups of meat sauce, enough for two meals. I often set aside about 6 cups to make lasagna or ziti. Okay to substitute dry bouillon or beef base (like Better than Bouillon) with water for the beef broth.

Variation: Substitute half Italian sausage, ground venison, or raw, bulk pork sausage (not breakfast sausage) for half the ground beef, or use a combination of other meats for a total of 2 pounds.

Slow Cooker:  Prepare as above, but transfer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on August 23, 2013
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17 comments:

  1. Now I'm craving pasta with a yummy sauce!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm a big fan of this blog! I'm from San Diego and now live in Arizona. I lived in the south for a couple of years while I was in the Army though. I loved the people, the charm, and definitely the food! Thank you for sharing your stories and recipes. I love cooking them. The food takes me back to such nice memories. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Colleen & thank YOU for such a sweet, kind note!!

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  3. I have been thinking about fresh tomatoes for cooking and making a sauce for some time. Tomatoes are cheaper than dirt in Central America. The taste is robust. The colors are eye popping. No more excuses. I will try out this recipe soon.

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  4. Looks and sounds delicious Mary and you just made me instantly hungry for pasta with meat sauce.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I know you have LOTS of fresh maters Larry!

      Delete
  5. That's a nice red sauce, like you said, you can never have too much of this. Spaghetti, cannelloni, stuffed peppers, you name it.

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  6. Can you freeze or can the sauce?

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    Replies
    1. I do freeze it, but haven't ventured into canning meat sauces such as this because it requires pressure canning processes.

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  7. I've started using sweet Italian sausage,for my meat sauce,of course I'll add extra onions,green pepper,garlic and Italian seasoning while I'm cooking it,a lil bit of red peppers flakes don't hurt either :),I just like the flavor of the sausage better,most store bought ground beef is tasteless these days unless you have them fresh grind a chuck roast or bottom round or sirloin tip.

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    Replies
    1. I love sweet Italian sausage in this meat sauce though I do use it in combination with the beef. I've been pretty lucky with the beef that I've been buying, but I usually buy the fattier grinds and just drain off the fat after browning. You're right though - the leaner grinds are mostly tasteless anymore.

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  8. I have been looking for a homemade meat sauce recipe and love your site already - so, thank you! :)

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Sara! If you get around to trying it, please let me know what you think!!

      Delete
  9. Why do you "brown" the tomato paste? I've never seen that before, but I tried it this time. only I deglazed the pan after I did it with about 1/2 cup of a nice Merlot.........

    ReplyDelete

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