Friday, August 23, 2013

Homemade Fresh Tomato Spaghetti Meat Sauce

A homemade spaghetti meat sauce made with fresh tomatoes and ground beef.
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 overflowing with tomatoes & going to go to the trouble of making a homemade red sauce with them, 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!

Plated spaghetti with homemade fresh tomato sauce spooned on top.
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 soft skin peeler {affil link}. 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. There are several brands available now, though I have the Zyliss. Pick one up at your local kitchen store, or on Amazon {affil link} with your next purchase there. You can buy soft skin peelers individually, or in a set {affil link}, 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. Browning the tomato paste concentrates the flavor and provides richness to the sauce. In culinary terms it's called pincer.

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.

Check out some more of my recipes using fresh tomatoes here on Pinterest!

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on August 23, 2013
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