Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce - Spaghetti Sauce - Pasta Sauce - Marinara Sauce - 52 Small Batch Canning

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My love affair with the tomato continues...

I have done a few posts on making Italian Gravy (Marinara Sauce).  One I am very proud of was my post for Herbed Tomato Sauce for Pasta back in January.  This post is very similar, EXCEPT this recipe calls for fresh seasonal ripe LOCALLY GROWN tomatoes.  In January when fresh tomatoes are trucked in from thousand(s???) of miles away, the freshest tasting tomatoes are always canned.  That January recipe is very very good and uses those big cans of tomatoes to make a very good tasting sauce.

This recipe is seasonal.  Only about 2-3 months of the year can you find those fresh locally grown, picked within a few days (sometimes hours or if you grow your own... MINUTES!!!) tomatoes that have such a rich taste.

This does take a longer prep time (the "Canned" version is a 20 minute hands on recipe), but not that much longer.  It took me about an hour to cut and prep 5 pounds of tomatoes.  For that effort I came away with 4 quarts of pizza sauce that is the best I have ever made... or had.

Nothing like fresh locally grown tomatoes.

I do have one tip that will save you lots of time.  Many recipes will call for the tomatoes to be peeled.  This indeed is necessary when you are dealing with imported out of season tomatoes.  the miracle of engineered fruit have designed many types to be thicker skinned.  But summer tomatoes, picked locally, generally have thinner skins.  This combined with the cooking process that includes a spin of a hand wand blender (or food processor), leaving a smooth sauce, makes this step unnecessary.

OK... Here's what I did...

Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce - Spaghetti Sauce -
Pasta Sauce -
Marinara Sauce 
Slow Cooker, Crock Pot Recipe

  • 3 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Medium Bell Pepper, Core and seeds removed, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and minced
  • 5 Pounds Fresh Ripe Tomatoes, quartered, hard core removed
  • 2 Small (6 OZ) Cans Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine
  • 2 TBS Chopped fresh Oregano
  • 2 TBS Chopped fresh basil
  • 2 TBS Chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 3 TBS Chopped fresh Thyme
  • 1 Large Pinch Salt
  • Several turns of a Pepper Grinder to taste
  • 2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
Cooking Directions
  1. Break out a 6 Quart Slow Cooker, set on Low
  2. But first, in a large Saute pan or skillet, heat the Olive Oil over medium heat.
  3. When hot and just starting to smoke, add Onions and peppers and saute for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  4. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue to cook for ONLY 1 minute more to release the garlic oils.
  5. Transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.  DeGlaze the pan with the Red Wine, add the wine and all the flavor bits released from the pan by the deglazing to the crock pot
  6. Carefully wash the tomatoes to remove any dirt or possible pesticides.  Cut into quarters or even smaller pieces if you are using large tomatoes.  Remove the hard center top core.
  7. Add the tomatoes and paste to the slow cooker
  8. Stir in the Balsamic Vinegar and stir to mix everything.
  9. Add the spices, stir one more time, close the lid and leave the cooker closed for 8 hours.
  10. After 8 hours, open the lid and use a hand blender to puree the sauce. If you do not have a hand blender you can puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
  11. Now, add the final ingredient some sweet Balsamic Vinegar, mix well
  12. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Be careful to not over salt as this sauce will may be used to season already salted food.  Better too little than too much.
  13. Return to the slow cooker, set it on high uncovered and check every fifteen minutes for the degree of thickness you want the sauce.
  14. Transfer the sauce to sterilized canning jars, carefully wipe the rims and seal.  If you will use the sauce within 2 months, just refrigerate.  If you plan a longer storage, do a full water bath.  In a large pot, completely submerge the jars and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from pot and allow to cool to room temperature.  These jars can be stored in a pantry, no need to refrigerate until opened.  Alternatively you can freeze the sauce in freezer bags
  15. Serve over pasta, as a pizza sauce, or cooking sauce.  and ENJOY!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of "52 Ways to Cook SLOW COOKER-CROCK POT Easy Recipes"!!!

From meat dishes (Like an AMAZING Root Beer Pulled Pork that will feed a small army), to kitchen staples (FREE Gallon of Chicken Stock anyone?) to a slew of Soup and Stew recipes, these are the dishes that will change the way you cook.  Start in the morning, set and forget and dinner is on the table... Easy Peasy indeed!!!


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