Sunday, March 20, 2011


Summer sunshine on a plate.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!

Last summer I was busy roasting tomatoes and freezing them for the winter.  The frozen tomatoes filled with summer sunshine are wonderful and nutritious in chilies, sauces, and any dish that calls for tomatoes. 

This is the post on the Juliet tomatoes which are so sweet they taste like candy.  It shows how to roast Roma or cherry-type tomatoes:


Tomatoes at the Holland Farmer's Market summer of 2010.


This is how I make my sauce which Tom says the family begs for me to make.  You can, of course, use this recipe as a start for how you want to make your sauce and how you want to season it.  Taking a recipe and making it yours is what makes cooking fun.

3 lb. Roma tomatoes
9 large cloves garlic, optional
1 large onion, optional
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


Thinly slice tomatoes.  Peel garlic and onion.  Cut onion into large chunks.  Place sliced tomatoes on a rimmed 15x10-inch cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Put garlic cloves and onion chunks around the tomatoes, if desired. Sprinkle with salt.  Place in 250° oven for approximately 2 hours or until edges of tomatoes are dry and puckered.  Edges should be a little caramelized.  Cool slightly.  If freezing, put in a freezer bag and freeze.  To use, put tomatoes in a blender container and puree until the consistency of applesauce.  May need to add a little water to puree, if necessary.  There should be approximately 2 cups of tomato sauce.  If making puree with cherry tomatoes there will be more liquid than 2 cups which is fine.

Take frozen roasted tomatoes from the freeze and thaw slightly.

Put into blender container.


1 lb. ground beef
½  to 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
Green pepper, chopped, optional
1 can (28oz) crushed, or whole tomatoes
1 cans (12oz) tomato paste
1 ½  tomato paste cans of water
1 t salt, or to taste
5 to 7 t sugar or to taste
2 t dried Italian seasoning

Ingredients:  Ground beef, ground Italian sweet sausage, sugar, salt, Italian herb blend, onion, garlic, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.  In the summer I add green pepper and any other fresh vegetable from the Farmer's Market that looks good and would compliment the sauce.

Fennel fond

When I made this sauce I had fresh basil and parsley.

Chop herbs to add at the end of cooking the sauce otherwise they can turn a blackish color.

When I make this sauce in the summer, I have my herb boxes outside filled with fresh herbs and I like to chop them and add them to my sauce just before I serve it.  I don't add all these herbs when I make it in the winter.

Sliced black olives
Fresh basil, torn or cut in strips
Parmesan cheese

To make a chiffonade of basil for garnishing the plated spaghetti, remove the leaves from the stems.

Stack the leaves on top of each other.  Sorry it is blurry.

Roll the leaves up like a cigar. 

Slice the roll of leaves making long strips.

Chiffonade of basil.

I like to pass dishes filled with black olives, basil, and Parmesan cheese so everyone can add what they like to their own servings.

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:  In a large pan, brown ground beef and drain.  Put Italian sausage in the pan the beef was browned in and brown the sausage.  Remove from pan and drain.  Do not brown the meats together as the ground beef will take on the taste of the sausage.  Saut√© onion and mushrooms in the same pan. Remove from pan.  Add water to deglaze the pan.  Return meat/onion/mushrooms to pan and add pureed tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, sugar and Italian seasoning.  Cover.  Simmer for 1 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.   Taste to adjust seasoning.  If available, add fresh herbs at the end of cooking time.  

Brown the ground beef.

Drain off the fat.

Brown the Italian sausage.  Do not brown the meats together.

Slightly thaw the frozen tomatoes.

Put in a blender container.


Looks good.

Drain off the fat from the ground Italian sausage.

Chop the onions.

Mince the garlic.

Saute the onions in the pan that the meats were browned.

Add garlic.

Add some water to deglaze the pan and scrap up all the good brown bits from browning the meats.

In a large pot, put the drained meats, onion/garlic mixture and pureed tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot.

Add drained mushrooms, if desired.

Add seasonings and 1 1/2-tomato paste cans of water.

Stir everything together.

Simmer for 1 to 3 hours until sauce thickens and flavors have melded.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  We used a thick spaghetti called Perciatellli.

Gather fresh herbs, if desired.

Chop and add to the sauce at the end of cooking time.

Sauce thicken and ready to serve.

Add fresh herbs, if desired.

Serve sauce over spaghetti, like Tom likes it.

Garnish with fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese and black olives, if desired.

Mix sauce with the spaghetti and serve. This is more the Italian way of serving.

Looks and tastes delicious.

Garnish with fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese and black olives, if desired.

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