This weekend I had about 21 tomatoes that were ripening in the house, and were ready to be used for some sauce experimentation. I don't want to do this on a large scale until I perfect the procedure. I have a recipe for bonafide pasta sauce from a legit Italian that I'm dying to use, but wanted to use up these sauce packets on the smaller batches first. My mom's friend Laura's recipe will be posted after I get a large crop of tomatoes at once....I want to can hers as I'm positive it's going to drool worthy, and I don't have the freezer space to freeze that much of it. Anyway, since I used this packet, this is more of a tutorial on the procedure of using your own tomatoes than it is a recipe. But I will guarantee you, that after trying this, I have vowed to never buy my spagetti sauce again!
First thing first...pick your maters. Mrs. Wages calls for 18 medium sized tomatoes per packet (about 6 lbs of fresh tomatoes, or 6 of the 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes if you don't have a garden)...you could probably use a few more or a few less. Wash the maters...especiallly if you have a dog that likes to pee in your garden like I do. Sorry for the picture of that in your head but I've seen him to it and will NEVER forget to wash the produce from then on!
Get a pot of water to a rolling boil and lower your tomatoes into it. Cook them for 3 minutes in the water, or until you start to see the skin crack....this means it will be very easy to remove the skin! I had to do 2 batches in this sized pot, I didn't want to get my huge stock pot out for some reason.
Throw the tomatoes immediately into ice cold water to prevent them from cooking any more after their 3 minutes in the boiling water bath are complete....
Peel back all the skins and cut all bad parts and cores out of the tomatoes...you only want the healthy, juicy flesh for your sauce.
Add the cleaned up tomatoes to your food processor or blender, and puree them into a liquid. I also added 2 jalapenos and a habanero (all with seeds removed), 3 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of fresh basil to the blender to infuse more flavor into the liquid tomatoes.
After blending the mixture into a liquid, I added it to a saucepan with the Mrs. Wages packet, and a 1/4 cup of sugar (which I am thinking of omitting for my next try). Bring to a boil.
While this is heating up, I was cooking 1 lb of italian sausage, some full and mini sized turkey pepperonis, some canadian bacon, and a diced onion to add to the sauce when it was done.
After the liquid boils, turn it to low, add your meat and onion (and mushrooms if you have any) and let the sauce simmer on low for as much time as you have, stirring occasionally. I let mine go for about an hour while I did dishes and cleaned up. I added some italian seasoning at this point as well.
I cannot even tell you how much better this was than it's store bought counterparts. Adding the peppers, garlic, and basil to the puree gave it some good flavor but not too much kick, it thickens up nicely while simmering, and all the different meats each add their own element to the sauce.
This size batch made a little more than 3 of the Ball freezer jars (I believe they are pints) full of sauce, but we obviously had to save one back to eat immediately and froze the other two. These things are ahhhhh-mazing by the way...they screw on so the lids won't pop off in the freezer when the sauce expands, and if you have freezer space, it is a far easier alternative to canning.
Anyway, all of this work on Saturday leads to this on Sunday night....now that's a Sunday dinner!!
EDIT: I did another batch of this the following weekend, exactly the same except I didn't de-seed the jalapenos and habanero and YEEEEEEEHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE was that shizz warm! I absolutely love the sauce with some smoke but if you aren't a heat seeker then make sure you take the seeds out of your peppers or you will get a lot more flavor than you bargained for....just an fyi!