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July 17, 2018

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce for Pasta | Gardening

Emma and I spent the day at The School House on Sunday making fresh tomato sauce.  I had made some last weekend for dinner with Mike's parents and it was so delicious, I decided to make a huge batch while real summer tomatoes were plentiful.

In Lexington there are so many farmstands that have wonderful (inexpensive!) local produce.  The garden at The School House is still a couple of weeks or so away from having "plentiful" tomatoes, but we are picking several baskets full of cherry tomatoes right now and we did pick our very first big tomato this week.  Soooo, I guess I'll be doing this all over again in August with the tomatoes from our own garden from the 16 plants we have (yikes!).

For this large batch, I used all of these 12 large tomatoes + 4 onions + 3 sticks of butter.   It made 7 x 8oz. containers (Plastic Kitchen Container Sets, 18 for $8 here) of sauce to put in the freezer or give away.  

We especially like this sauce with large rigatoni.  After cooking the pasta, I place the rigatoni directly in with the sauce and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing it to soak up the sauce.  I served it with Pesto Grilled Chicken topped with melty fresh mozzarella and it was the best meal we've had all summer.

Getting photobombed while I was taking these photos.  

Eating chips and dip, of course!

I bought a "real" seeded large watermelon.  I don't think Emma had ever seen real watermelon seeds...

These tomatoes came from our garden.  I'll share some more photos and the plans for the School House garden soon.  The extreme heat and lack of rain has done a number on the grass, so it isn't the prettiest for photos.  But, I'm still developing the longterm plan that I'll share soon.

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce
We made a triple batch of this recipe.

4 large tomatoes
1 large onion
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of sea salt

Dice two of the large tomatoes and put them in a large saucepan.    Chop the other tomatoes into large pieces and blend them until pureed.  Pour them into the saucepan.

Peel the onion and cut in half.  Place it in the saucepan and add the butter.

Cook on medium until bubbling, then reduce to low to simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Let cool, then scoop out onions.  Pour into freezer containers or serve with pasta.

Half of the tomatoes were diced like this and went straight into the large sauce pot.

The other half of the tomatoes went into a blender and were blended completely - skins, seeds and all.

I poured the pureed tomatoes in with the diced tomatoes + butter + large onions peeled and cut in half.  It cooked for about 2 hours on a medium-low simmer.

After it had reduced and cooked for 2 hours, I let it cool on the stove for another hour, then used a large slotted spoon to pull out the onion pieces.  I separated the onion pieces into another bowl, then put them in a freezer bag.  I think they'll be great for chili in the fall.

I spooned the sauce into 8 oz. Plastic Kitchen Containers.  I put all of the containers on a Large Sheet Pan, then put them in the fridge to cool completely before I put the lids on.

I labeled them "Summer Tomato Sauce 7.15.18" and got them read for giving and freezing.

And, of course I forgot to take a final photo of them with their lids and labels on.

Here is my favorite meatball recipe below, along with our other favorite tomato sauce made from canned tomatoes.  It is based on this same super simple recipe and hands-down THE BEST sauce.  Our family is obsessed!

Easy Homemade Meatball Recipe >

I make these with 3-4 pounds of ground beef at a time and keep them in the freezer.  These + tomato sauce from the freezer makes the best quick comforting dinner - a Sunday tradition at our house.

 Our Favorite Spaghetti Sauce Recipe >

So fresh summer tomato sauce is our favorite, but every other time of the year this sauce using canned tomatoes is so, so good.  Made with just canned tomatoes, butter and onion - so simple and delish.

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