Meghann asked me for my spaghetti sauce recipe so I decided to post it here since I've mentioned it from time to time but never written it down. It is derived from a habanero salsa I've made for years, just without the habaneros! I wouldn't try this in winter, because it's hard to find enough romas ripe enough, and they're expensive. Just plant four or more roma tomato plants in your garden and you'll have more than enough for a batch a week throughout the summer. You'll note it uses fresh herbs - dried are OK, but it's better if everything is fresh. If you double the recipe (which you'll need to, to use up all the romas at the height of summer!), it will make enough to freeze a portion or two as well as serve some for the evening's dinner. I imagine you could can it via the water bath method as for tomatoes or salsa, too.
- 18-24 fresh roma tomatos, halved
- 12-18 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ sweet onion, peeled and quartered
- extra virgin olive oil (about half a cup, maybe a bit more)
- dry red wine
- chopped fresh herbs - your choice of any combination of oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram
Preheat oven to 400°.
Take the halved tomatoes and put them in two batches into a big plastic container with a tight fitting lid, pour over the olive oil (say a quarter cup per each batch), sprinkle on some salt, put the lid on and shake it real hard for about ten seconds until everything's covered with oil and the seeds and pulp are starting to come out of the halves. When both batches are done put the tomatoes out cut side up on a big cookie sheet. This is hard on cookie sheets (you'll see), so don't use your best ones. I have no best ones! :o)
Randomly put a whole peeled garlic clove in various tomato halves (the ones that have formed "cups" from having the seeds shaken out). Drizzle the oil/pulp mixture over the whole thing and put the sheet into the over for an hour. It will smoke. It will scorch. It will burn a bit. You want that. If it doesn't, raise the oven temp ten degrees or bake longer. Basically you want the tomatoes to be shriveled up, the garlic cloves browned and a bunch of blackened stuff around the bottom of the pan.
Pull the sheet(s) from the oven and let cool a bit. Put the onion into a blender and then on top of it scrape the contents of the pan into the blender with a metal spatula, making sure you get some of the blackened, roasted bits baked onto the sheet. Put in the herbs, splash in some wine, put the lid on and blend on slow until the whole thing is pasta sauce consistency (about 30 seconds). Now it is ready to be heated as spaghetti sauce. If you want a meat sauce, brown the beef (and whatever else you want - onions, green peppers, mushrooms, etc. - and then pour the sauce in with the meat and heat through. Correct seasoning while it heats, then boil the pasta and eat!
That's it. it will make about as much as a typical American-sized jar of pasta sauce. It is rich, and very good on spaghetti as a side to a grilled steak dinner (rib eye preferred - I call it a "Mafia meal").
Note: You can double this, just use two cookie sheets and swap their places in the oven halfway through, and increase the cooking time a bit.