Tuesday, August 31, 2010

100th Post!

{Hey--did you know it's my mama's 100th post!}

{I think that's pretty cool}

As a present for you, here is my home-made spaghetti sauce recipie.  I think I might have gotten a little carried away with the pictures.  Sorry about that!

Start with a bunch of these:

I used about 20 and made 2+ quarts of sauce.  Wash the tomatoes and set aside.  Start a large pot of water to boil.  While you wait for the water to boil, heat 2 T evoo and 2 T butter in a large dutch oven.  While the oil and butter heat, chop a fennel bulb and add it to the pot to start to soften.  You could skip the fennel, but trust me, you don't want to.

Now, realize that you forgot to pick onions.  Go out to the garden and pick two (because they are kinda small).

Chop. Chop. Chop. Into the pot with the fennel.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

By now your water should be boiling so prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.  This is the quickest way to peel tomatoes.  If you want to make a vegitarian version, skip the next step.  Carnivors, follow me.

I like my pasta sauce with sweet italian sausage, but you can use spicy sausage, or ground beef or turkey.  If you use ground beef or turkey, I suggest adding additional salt and pepper at this point along with some oregano (about 1T) and 1 tsp fennel seeds.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and fennel from the pot.  Slice the sausage length wise and remove the casing.  Roughly chop the sausage and add to the pot to brown.  You can add the onions and fennel back in when it looks like this:

Now the messy part: peeling and chopping your tomatoes.

Start by placing a thick kitchen towel underneath a cutting board near the boiling wather and icebath.  The towel keeps the cutting board from slipping around when the tomatoe juices start to run, and absorbs the tomatoe juices.  Also, have a colander on a bowl or in the sink.

Make a small "x" on the bottom of the tomatoes using the point of a paring knife and place them in the boiling water.

It won't take long to loosen the skins, maybe 30 seconds at most.  Scoop up the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and drop them in the ice bath.

After about 30 seconds in the ice bath they are ready to come out, and the skins should just skip off.


Now, chop your tomatoes up and put them in a colander in the sink or on top of a bowl.  This will allow some of the extra juice to run off so you don't have to cook the sauce as long to get to the desired thickness.  As you can see I used yellow and red tomatoes for my sauce.

 Pour about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar to the pot with the sausage, fennel and onion and give it a good stir to incorporate. 

Once your tomatoes are all diced (I used about 20) add them as well. Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.  Also add two handfuls of dried oregano.  Finally, grate in 2-3 garlic cloves using a microplane.


  1. Congrats on the 100th post!!

    I am way to lazy to make sauce, maybe we'll just eat some of yours?

  2. yum! i just made some (for the first time ever) and used fennel seed...and now, thanks to you, i have to make more so i can use fresh fennel. :)

  3. Good luck with the fresh fennel--it smells so awesome when it cooks up. I used the fennel seed for my second batch! :)