All summer long I watched my tomato plants slowly grow taller and taller, finally taking over the raised garden bed in a massive tomato jungle. Last year, I made plenty of tomato soup to keep in the freezer all year. This year, I started out with dehydrating some for sun-dried tomatoes, but I was really waiting for the time where I could make a giant pot of tomato sauce.
And then the unthinkable happened. It started raining. And the overnight lows dipped down to 40 degrees. In a nutshell, the northwest decided to go straight from summer to winter, and my beautiful tomatoes I had been waiting to harvest split on the vine, or never even turned red.
Luckily, I had just enough previously picked ones to get me one small pot of sauce, which I guess will leave more space in my freezer for beef 🙂
1.5 lbs tomatoes (I used Romas)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup red wine (whatever you like to drink, I used a Malbec)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, and thyme
salt and pepper
grated parmesan and fresh basil, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and next to it place a bowl of cold water.
Trim tomatoes to remove core, and cut an “x” into the bottom of each tomato. Place in the pot of boiling water for 45 seconds- 1 minute, then place in the bowl of cold water to easily remove the tomato skins.
Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing as much of the seeds as possible (but don’t bother making yourself too crazy over them).
Simmer the tomatoes in a medium stockpot until broken down and thickened, about 25 minutes. Add the tomato paste and simmer and additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the ground beef with a small drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until done. Drain excess fat from the pan, and then add the minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated, making sure to scrap up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the spices, salt and pepper, and tomato sauce to the meat mixture, taste, and adjust for seasonings.
The logical base for meat sauce is pasta, but I served mine over cheesy polenta, and it was some serious comfort food, y’all.