My summer sauce recipe is here! This recipe is great for your body, nearly any vegetable could be added for extra color or vitamin, and it can be added to so many dinner menus. For example: Italian Tortellini Soup (listed under garden recipes), pizza or marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, topping for chicken Parmesan, tomato based curry, butter chicken, beef stew, lasagna and homemade tomato soup. The recipe just adds extra goodness to every recipe (Thanks reader, Kathy for reminding me to add example recipes).
I want to be honest and up front about this recipe–it is not exact and flexibility is needed. You can add more or less of something for taste or thickness. Also note this recipe is not for the faint of heart in the kitchen. It is time consuming, but the end result will delight all year long.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups onion, roughly chopped
5-8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4-5 sweet peppers or 2 bell peppers any color, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped
1-2 spicy peppers, seeded and diced (jalapeño, serrano, etc.–this is optional depending on your heat preference)
1-2 medium zucchini, grated (about 4 cups)
5-6 large carrots peeled and grated (about 3 cups–you can use any variety, but I use purple carrots because of the beautiful rich red color they add to the sauce when mixed with the tomatoes. If you use orange carrots, but be warned that the color of your sauce will not be as beautiful. We eat with our eyes too!)
1 red beet peeled and grated (optional, a way to add a red color if you use orange carrots)
2 cups chopped spinach (optional)
2 can (12-ounces) tomato paste (add one more if needed)
30-35 tomatoes (all varieties welcome, I use whatever is ripe. I grow paste tomatoes and they add a nice thickness. If you are buying these, look for Romas.)
Note: Tomatoes must be peeled and core removed. My preferred method is to cut them in half, place them on a cookie sheet in the oven on broil. Afer 5-8 minutes, remove the tray and slip off the tomato skins.
1-2 tablespoons coarse, kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 tablespoons dried italian seasoning (to taste)
2 cups chopped fresh basil (to taste–I like a lot)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of baking soda (add when sauce is complete and finished cooking down)
Note: This will help the acid level of the sauce to be lower and not so difficult to digest.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent and slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook all ingredients for 1-1 1/2 hours. Stirring occasionally with a potato masher. When cooked down and has a thick sauce appearance remove bay leaves and blend with a stick blender. You can use a regular blender but please just buy a stick blender. It is an awesome kitchen tool. The blender will just be a big mess.
Add the baking soda, stir and let set for 5 minutes. Cool for a couple of hours. Then freeze. I freeze the sauce in regular quart size freezer size ziplocks. I lay them flat in the freezer so they freeze in a way that will fit nicely standing up in my freezer. I make some in smaller bags for toppings.