|A homemade spaghetti meat sauce made with fresh tomatoes and ground beef.|
Homemade Fresh Tomato Spaghetti Meat SauceThere 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.|
|Zyliss soft skin peeler.|
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
- 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
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.
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©Deep South Dish
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