Saturday, October 3, 2009

Freezer Spaghetti Sauce

Our first year of gardening was a semi-success. Semi-success=at least some produce! I've never gardened before so it was an adventure. Our tomato plants thrived and did awesome! We did get a few small onions. Unfortunately, my niece was helping with weeding and pulled most of our carrots when they were just little and coming up from seed. Next year I think I am going to do all starts.

So now we have massive amounts of tomatoes! What to do? We've been enjoying salads and tomato sandwiches. Today I decided to make some spaghetti sauce that I can freeze and use later. Next week I think I'll can my own salsa.

I used this recipe from My Food Storage Deals. It was super easy and it is VERY GOOD! I halved the recipe because I am saving the rest of my tomatoes for the salsa. Still I got about 9 quarts!

Here is the recipe:

Marinara Red Sauce (great for freezing!)
Makes 18 qts. (can 1/2 recipe for a smaller batch)
4 lb. ground Italian sausage (spicy is optional)
1 8 oz. pkg. mushrooms, sliced
3 large fresh garlic cloves
1/3 c. salt (or more depending on taste)
1 T. pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional—to taste)
1 1/2 lb. mini carrots finely blended/diced
1 bunch celery finely blended/diced
3 medium white onions/diced
Other vegetables-optional (zucchini, peppers, etc.) (I did zucchini and peppers)
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 T. basil (Add at the end of the cooking process to retain it's flavor)
2 T. sugar
30 cans of stewed tomatoes (15oz.), with juices (whole) or frozen/fresh tomatoes from your garden-if they are fresh, add a little more sugar and salt to balance the acidic flavor. If you use only fresh tomatoes you will need anywhere from 40-50 tomatoes (depending on their size).
4 cans tomato paste for thickening

Use food processor to dice carrots, onions and celery (and any other vegetables) into small chunks. Sauté all above ingredients (carrots, onions, celery, sausage, mushrooms & spices) in large saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add tomatoes including juice from can. For a smooth red sauce, puree all tomatoes and ingredients together in blender (or use blender/wand-- they work great!). Or, for meatier sauce, puree tomatoes only, and leave other ingredients in chunks. Allow sauce to simmer 2-5 hours on low with out the lid, sauce should reduce about one third. Add basil right before serving. Taste to make sure sauce does not need any more salt, sugar or seasoning. Simmer on stove or in roaster pan until thick. Let sauce cool and then freeze sauce in Tupperware’s or freezer bags for later meals.

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