Of course, by then, it was hotter than hades. But then dawned on me. The crockpot! So I loaded up my bag with tomatoes and happily headed home. The next day I picked up the herbs I needed from the CSA and a few other ingredients and set about making some sauce. I looked at a bunch of recipes online, but nothing really spoke to me. So I decided to wing it. Dangerous, maybe, but I figure, if you put good stuff in, you get good stuff out. Four hours later, I turned out to be right! We had a bunch of bright, fresh, delicious chunky tomato sauce. First we used it on pizza, and tonight, we had it over spaghetti noodles.
Wow, wow, wow. I don't know how I'll ever go back to the jar stuff again. I'm planning to go get a bunch more tomatoes this week and try my hand at canning. We'll see how that goes...
Here's the recipe for
Crockpot Tomato Basil Sauce
(Makes about 8 cups)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
8 cups chopped tomatoes*
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4-5 grinds fresh pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
12 oz. tomato paste
*I partially peeled my tomatoes with a vegetable peeler. For the really ripe ones, I left most of the peel on because it didn't want to come off. Apparently, you can par boil the tomatoes to help the skin come off more easily, but I was avoiding boiling anything that day... You can also leave the peels on entirely!
Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the crockpot. Add garlic, turn crockpot to high and cook 10-15 minutes until garlic starts to become fragrant.
Add pepper, tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to mix. Cover, turn heat down to low and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
At the 3 1/2-4 hour mark, add in oregano, parsley, basil and tomato paste and continue cooking for another hour.
If you like a chunky sauce -you're done! Of you prefer something smoother, you can run it through a blender or food processor.
UPDATE: I should have noted that this sauce freezes very well. I separated it into 2 cup containers and froze the majority of it. The sauce on the spaghetti above was frozen and then reheated. I did leave some in the fridge and it easily lasted 4 days with no issues.