So here's the scoop. I LOVE chunky spaghetti sauce. The problem is, my husband doesn't. I usually make homemade spaghetti sauce and can it each year. I make it smooth by pureeing the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ALL other ingredients in the blender before I start. I do not blanch or peel or remove seeds. I believe it all has nutritious value and I want to make it is as healthy as possible. Plus, it's just less work. :) I usually add in any fresh stuff I have coming out of the garden at the time. Zucchini, summer squash, and bell peppers usually make it in there. Nobody ever notices. It's just good sauce!
I sometimes like to take advantage of hubby's occasional late nights, or business trip, to doctor up some spaghetti sauce to eat the way I like it. I usually just prefer straight sauce over pasta and leaving out the meat. For some reason, my husband thinks it's not really a meal if it doesn't have meat. So the kids and I like to enjoy just sauce over pasta as a treat when we are home alone. However, once every couple of years or so, I really like to do something drastically different by adding beef smoked sausage and some red bell peppers. Tonight I also added a fresh red onion and some chopped basil. Delish!
Now, for the actual sauce.
I got the original recipe from a friend of mine hosting a canning party on his farm with his own fresh organic tomatoes. The title of it was called Naomi's Spaghetti Sauce. I don't know where he got the recipe from, but I've enjoyed lots and lots of jars of it and have passed the recipe on at least a dozen times and gifted it numerous times as well.
I've made this sauce the past five years and canned it. I still have some from last year's batch. The recipe makes about 2 qt jars. I usually doubled or tripled it and made many many batches of it. Last year I canned 36 jars of sauce! It can be canned with just a boiling water bath, so it's easy enough!
Here's the basic recipe, you can tweek it to however you like,
4 medium onions - chopped
1 1/4 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves (or a tablespoon of minced garlic)
12 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
4 tsp salt
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2-6oz cans tomato paste
1/3 cup brown sugar
Last year I added 1 zucchini/squash and 1 bell pepper for each doubled recipe. This also added a little more bulk to the sauce and it went a little further. With doing 6 times the recipe, it probably gave an extra 2 quarts with just the extra added veggies in it. (I'm totally guessing here since I wasn't measuring the veggies and all that....just throwing stuff in the blender ;)) You can add ANYTHING that you really want. Mushrooms, other fresh veggies, olive oil, coconut oil, whatever you want. The only thing I'd suggest shying away from is adding meat, unless you are eating it right away. You can not safely can meat or anything with meat in it with just a water bath. You HAVE to use a pressure canner.
What I did was just take the chopped tomatos (AFTER they are measured out!) and the onions and veggies and threw them in the blender and purreed them together in small batches. A few cups of tomatoes, an onion, a half a squash, or as much as I could fit into my blender at a time.. It's important to measure the tomatoes first. I've done this wrong and used 12 cups of purreed tomatoes and it's just not the same. Also, by blending it, you don't need to blanch and de skin the tomatoes.
The kind of tomatoes you use are important as well. You'll want fleshier tomatoes to make a thicker, richer, less watery sauce. Romas were my go to for several years, but this year and last we've planted heirloom Amish Paste tomatoes. They are a lovely, big, thick, plump, tomato that doesn't have many seeds or juice. They are sort of like a roma on steroids. :)
So, take all ingredients EXCEPT tomato paste and sugar and put them together and bring to a simmer and let simmer for 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour longer. Remove bay leaves, pour into jars, and seal. To seal them, put your hot sauce into sterilized (boiled) jars. Fill to the top leaving about an inch of space. Put on the lids and rings and put into a pan of boiling water. Keep them at a rolling boil for 15 minutes.
I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we have! It's good stuff! Or so we think. :)
***********Update - 8/19/12 ************ I made this recipe and actually took the time to blanch and deseed the tomatoes. It made a very nice thick sauce. I added 1 summer squash and 1 red pepper. It made exactly 2 quarts! Maybe it simmered down more than usual? I'm not really sure. But hubby even liked it better than any of the other batches I've ever made in the past 6 years! He said he'd eat THAT on just pasta without meat! That's HUGE! :) It was messy and more time consuming to blanch and deseed, but the results are very good!
************Update - 8/19/2013********** In light of the Cure Tooth Decay protocol's our family has been following, I substituted the brown sugar for birch bark sugar (GMO free xylitol) and a tsp of molasses. It still tasted absolutely wonderful! Only without the glucose spikes of regular sugar. :)