29 September 2009

Fall Harvest Dinner #2

It's that time of year. The air is getting colder; the sun shines less often. There are still several tomatoes on my plants, but they're not ripening very quickly. Luckily, there is hope for those scraggly, less-than-perfect tomatoes--Catherine Newman's Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce.

You have been introduced to Catherine, haven't you? I first "met" her (virtually, of course) when I was pregnant with my daughter and a frequent visitor to BabyCenter.com. Back then, Catherine had a blog called Bringing Up Ben & Birdy, about her daily life raising two small children. Her humor and realism sucked me in and kept me coming back for more. She now writes Dalai Mama Dishes on the Disney Family site, posting new yummy recipes each week, while still giving us a dose of her wit and updating us on her adorable children.

Anyway, back to the tomato sauce. The recipe is so easy, and the roasting really brings out whatever flavor your lackluster tomatoes may have. I imagine you would even get good results with--gasp!--grocery store tomatoes. Just look at that glossy scarlet sauce. This is the fastest, easiest homemade sauce I've ever made, and it really impressed my husband and the kids.

Click on the link above for the recipe. (Or, oh fine, here, for those of you that don't feel like scrolling.) Some notes:
  • Catherine recommends plum tomatoes, but I used beefsteak. I really think anything would work. As she says, a meatier tomato (less juicy and seedy) will take less time to cook down.
  • The recipe calls for a large pinch of dried herbs or a mere 1 tsp fresh herbs. I used 1 tsp each of basil, oregano, and thyme, and I still didn't think it was "herby" enough. If you like your sauce herby, use more herbs.
  • In my photo, you can see that I added ground beef. This is not in the original recipe, and totally optional, of course. Ground turkey would also work, if you want to go that route.
  • I pureed mine in the food processor--skin, seeds, and all--and it was fabulous and not at all chunky.
Wednesday nights have been "Spaghetti Nights" in our house for a long time now, so I'm always looking for slight variations on the noodle-and-red-sauce theme. This one worked very well. And my daughter, the initiator of the weekly spaghetti doses, really appreciated that we made sauce from our own garden. It was definitely a special Spaghetti Night for us. (This is also the reason for the meat--a rarity in our weekly spaghetti. I guess meat sauce is fancier?)

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