So, I am happy to report that the tomatoes from Lombardi Ranch have become the beautiful spaghetti sauce they were grown to be. Spaghetti sauce recipes are different each time you make them, especially when you use fresh tomatoes. Each type of tomato and even each tomato has a bit of a different level of sweetness and flavor so little tweaks must be made here and there to make it just as you like it. Because of the nature of spaghetti sauce recipes, I don’t have exact measurements for all of the ingredients. But, by reading the list of ingredients and directions you will have a good idea of how to make your own, exactly as you like it.
20 Fresh Tomatoes (I used a few heirloom in the batch)
5 cloves of garlic
2 sliced carrots
1/2 cup of fresh basil
1 cup of kale
2 medium onions, browned
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
additional salt, pepper, dried basil and granulated garlic
1/4 cup sugar
First, peel and seed your tomatoes. There are many good online tutorials for this process. Here is the one I used. Once peeled and seeded, place the tomatoes and garlic in a deep pot. I have a few that are yellowish green in here too.
Next, Add the carrots and the kale roughly chopped. Everything will be processed in the food processor in the end so no need to be precise. Also add and all of the other ingredients except the ground beef, additional seasonings, and the sugar.
Bring up to a light simmer and cook for 2 – 3 hours on low checking regularly to see if it needs more liquid. Once the veggies are really soft and the tomatoes have cooked down, you are ready to process. At one point, mine had cooked down quite a bit and I was a little concerned, but I added a cup or so of water and it perked right back up and was still very yummy!
In the meantime brown the ground beef and season it with the additional spices mentioned in the ingredients. You want to be sure that your ground beef has flavor before you add it to the sauce for a more complex sauce.
Once cooked for 2 – 3 hours, it is time to process your sauce. Here you can use a food processor, an immersion blender or a regular blender to do the job. Since I finally wore out my immersion blender, I used my food processor.
As I processed the sauce, I transferred it into another pot with the browned ground beef.
Now it is time to taste it. Here is where you can add a bit more of the dried spices and salt, pepper and sugar if it is needed. With the sugar, add small amounts and taste in between. I began with 1/8 a cup and then added another 1/8 and it was perfect! The sugar balances out the slightly sour taste of the tomatoes and other ingredients.
Before serving, I added a quarter of a cup of shredded parmesan cheese to the sauce to add another layer of complex flavor. It is not recognizable, but adds a little something.
I cooked my pasta (I used bow tie pasta) after adding the browned beef to the sauce. The sauce needed about 20 minutes to cook so the flavors could mix together. When I drained my pasta, I put it back in the hot pan and added some sauce to coat it. That is the best time to get your sauce to stick to your pasta. We added more sauce when we served it as well.
You may have noticed that I added carrots and kale to the sauce. While the carrots do add some flavor and color to the sauce, I mostly add them for their nutritional value. That is why I added the kale as well. It added no flavor at all because of the amounts used, but it did add nutritional value. What a great way to use some of the kale from the farm box.
We also served fresh garlic rolls and salad with this meal. I will post the recipe for the quick garlic basil butter as well.
After dinner last night I still have this:
The two full ones are going right into the freezer after cooling for another night in the future. That is one of the things, besides the yummy taste and the homemade quality, that makes all of this work worth it!