My previous post about gardening made it very clear that I never had much interest in it until my son was born. This year, I’ve been very involved and invested in getting a good summer/fall harvest. What I never even considered is that this is the perfect time to stop buying those ready-made pasta sauces and to instead make my own! So, for those of you who have your summer harvest going on, you probably have all, or almost all, the necessary ingredients to make a killer homemade red sauce. If you don’t keep a garden, another option would be to hit up your local farmer’s market for the necessary ingredients. You’ll be simultaneously helping out local farmers and keeping your food clean and green for your family. So, if you’re tired of spending money on ready-made sauces, or if you’d prefer to know exactly what’s in your food, here’s an astonishingly simple recipe to try!
What you’ll need:
- Tomatoes (Any kind! Yellow, red, still a little green, fat, skinny, small, or large)
- Garlic (Fresh is best! Chop finely or use a garlic press)
- Carrots (1-2 whole carrots)
- Honey (spoonful)
- Olive oil
How to prepare:
Pour a little bit of olive oil in a skillet so that it’s just lightly covering the whole bottom and set the burner to medium-high. Add your tomato chunks and fresh garlic and allow the tomatoes to start cooking down. While that’s cooking, begin adding your spices. We do our spices to taste, so don’t worry about exact measurements. If you LOVE garlic, use a bunch of garlic. If you hate thyme, leave it out. You know what flavors you like, so make your sauce the way YOU want it to taste! Our scallions and rosemary we pull right out of the garden before we start cooking, but if you don’t have a home garden, just buy them ahead of time. The rest of our herbs are dried from the season before, so powdered spices will work just fine.
Now, the carrots and honey might seem like they don’t belong, but they are in the sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. We didn’t do this step the first (or second) times we made the sauce and whoa–tangy! So, grate one or two carrots and add them to the sauce. Then add one (or two) spoonfuls of honey. The carrots will cook down and you won’t even taste the honey, so trust me, don’t skip this very important step! Also, if your sauce still seems too acidic, add chunks of carrot and them remove them at the end of the cooking time.
After all your ingredients are in the skillet, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes. When you check again, the sauce should be smooth, no large chunks of tomatoes left, have plenty of juice, and smell incredible. In fact, you should be able to smell it throughout your entire kitchen even before the lid comes off. If it doesn’t look [smell] like this, cover again and let cook another 5-10 minutes.
Finally, let your sauce cool and then pour it into a blender to puree.
That’s it! Delicious pasta sauce is as simple as having the right ingredients and letting them cook for about half an hour! Trust me you’ll want this sauce on all your pasta dishes from here on out and the store-bought pasta sauce won’t taste quite as good anymore.
Plus, if you know how to can (this is the next skill I want to master), you can have homemade pasta sauce year round!