Tomato season can never come too early for me. Sliced on toast with peanut butter or almond butter, bacon, mozzarella or cheddar. The combination goes on and on. But the best way to enjoy fresh tomatoes is on spaghetti.
In the fall when I wish to put some sauce away for the winter, I will collect my CSA tomatoes and veggies every week and either keep them in the fridge or freezer until I have enough to make my slow cooker sauce.
SPAGHETTI WITH FRESH TOMATOES
- 8 medium tomatoes
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 T chopped fresh parsley
- 1 small bunch basil
- 1 tsp salt
- spaghetti for 4
Peel tomatoes. Chop and seed. Let drain. Combine oil, garlic, parsley, basil and salt. Add tomatoes and mix well. Cover and set aside at room temperature. Cook spaghetti. Drain, place in pasta bowls and pour tomato mixture over, toss well. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
SLOW COOKER SPAGHETTI SAUCE
If you’re overwhelmed with tomatoes and other veggies (any will do) and have a little time to prep, make this sauce in the slow cooker, walk away, enjoy your day and come back in a few hours, put in tubs and freeze it for the winter!
- 5 pounds roma tomatoes
- ¼ cup red cooking wine or balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot roughly chopped
- 1 medium zucchini roughly chopped
- 1 pint mushrooms roughly chopped
- 1 bell pepper roughly chopped
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried parsley or 3 T fresh, chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil or 1 T fresh, chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
- ¼ tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 – 3 tsp honey
Prepare tomatoes by immersing in boiling hot kettle water for 15 minutes to remove the skins. Cut them in half or quarters and add place in slow cooker. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and herbs. Drizzle the wine and olive oil. Cover and turn crockpot to medium and cook for 2-4 hours stirring occasionally.
Turn the crockpot to low and vent the cover so excess moisture evaporates. Cook until your desired thickness, 4-6 hours or longer, stirring occasionally.
Once the tomato sauce is nice and thick, taste it. Add salt and pepper and stir to mix in. Taste again. Adjust seasoning if needed. If the flavor is sharp and acidic, add a little honey and taste again.
If you are including additional ingredients such as sausage, or meatballs, precook these and add to the crockpot and cook on low for an additional 1-2 hours.