Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mom's tomato sauce with CSA veggies

This week I received heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers and basil in my organic CSA veggie box.  These all happen to be ingredients in this awesome tomato sauce my mom makes.  But Karla, why would you use beautiful fresh tomatoes in a sauce instead of enjoying them raw? Well, honestly, I don't really like raw tomatoes and I'm sure I'll be getting a TON this summer. :-)

Also, this sauce is amazing.  I'm just sayin'.  Like most everything I make it is super easy.  It also manages to taste both super fresh (from the fresh tomatoes, peppers, and basil) and rich (from the tomato sauce and paste) at the same time.

This time I served it over some frozen homemade vegan gnocchi from VeganYumYum and froze some of the sauce for use in the future.  I did NOT use the optional ground beef in my sauce.  :-)

The recipe...quoted from mom :-D

1 lb. ground beef (optional)
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 can tomato paste
3 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 quart fresh, diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or other herbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute beef (if using), onion, bell pepper, and garlic until beef is browned or onion is transparent.  Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours.

Of course, I never measure, so these amounts are very approximate.  Add more garlic, herbs, etc. to your own preference.  Good luck!

Edit: some gnocchi tips! 
First, yes, you can make gnocchi!  It's really not hard at all (especially if you only care about how it TASTES and not how it LOOKS.  :-D

1.) Don't use an electric mixer to mash the potatoes.  Most sites I've read suggested a ricer or potato masher.  I have neither, so I just used two forks to gently break up the spuds, much like making pastry dough.

2.) Use bread flour if you can.  It's OK with all purpose, but bread flour has extra gluten that really firms it up.  There are TONS of recipes for GF gnocchi out there, but I haven't tried them.

3.)  Salt the water you boil the gnocchi in, not the gnocchi!  This will flavor the pasta without messing up the texture.   You want the water fairly salty.  "Like the sea" ---according to Anne Burrell on the food network ;-). 

4.) Using a fork to make patterns on the gnocchi makes it prettier, and perhaps soak up more sauce..but I just roll it into a rope and cut it.  It takes way less time so I am much more likely to make the gnocchi myself.

5.)  I like to boil the gnocchi until they are slightly underdone (a couple of minutes), then strain well and saute in a medium hot skillet using some olive oil or butter.  This gives the gnocchi a really crisp delicious outer shell.  You can also flavor the gnocchi really well with salt, herbs and spices while you saute.

6.) Since making gnocchi is more of a "weekend" task, make a ton and freeze individual portions.  It freezes awesome and then you have a super easy weeknight meal ready to go.  That's what I did for this post.  (Freeze before you boil)


Peggy said...

Looks like you got a great batch of veggies Karla! I'll be posting the CSA roundup in a little bit so I can share this delicious gnocchi recipe with my readers =)

Anonymous said...

I love homemade tomato sauce! And there are so many tomatoes in the summer, it really isn't a waste of fresh veggies, just a good use of them! I've always wanted to make gnocchi--is it fairly easy?

Karla said...

Thanks for the comment! I edited my post to talk about the gnocchi a bit more. I'll have to make an actual post about gnocchi once I come up with a unique recipe. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah, love the update! It makes gnocchi seem feasible (I tend to get overwhelmed by some instructions for them--and it's only two ingredients!!) Definitely will be making some when I'm back home--WITH fresh tomato sauce :D

Jennifer said...

this looks wonderful!!!! =) I have been dying to make my own sauce! =)

Lillian said...

OMG, the sauce looks fantastic! I'm definitely trying this soon -- I've been trying to figure out how to make my own from scratch, so I'm absolutely going to try it out. :)

Karla said...

Thanks girls! Please let me know if you do try it and how it turns out for you. :-D

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