Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer is Spaghetti Sauce Time

This is a photo taken by Vera of a church on the Volga River not far from Kostroma.


I've been making stews, soups, and spaghetti sauce with my garden's glorious bounty of tomatoes.  I had to remove a turtle who was nipping them a week ago.  I put him near the wood pile, but today I found him or his friend in the orchard, trying madly to get through the chainlink fence into the garden. I didn't help him.  I've never seen a turtle work so hard.  So I left him to it.

I put the plants off the ground in cages this year to help with such problems as turtles, but the cages fell over because the plants were so heavy with fruit.  So I hammered stout sticks in the ground to support them, but along came a big wind and blew even those over, mostly.  Then I'd planted this Russian variety of a winter squash (Kabochka, which is Russian for squash), and I didn't provide enough space or climbing place for it, and it decided to run over the tomato plants, including the few remaining upright ones.  Still, every time I go out, I find tomatoes to bring in.  So here is a recipe for spaghetti sauce.  I recommend Roma tomatoes, but any will do, especially freshly grown in your garden.


Judy’s Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
 In a big pot, e.g., a Dutch Oven, saute 2 or 3 large (or equivalent) chopped onions and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Add 1 or 2 large chopped sweet bell peppers, stirring occasionally.

When these are soft, add 2-3 minced garlic cloves.

In a few minutes, stir in one small can of tomato paste, watching it so it doesn’t burn.

Add cut up tomatoes, either from your garden (Romas are my favorite) or from 3 large cans.
You can add a little water (about the same amount as the tomato paste–I use the can to measure and get the extra paste out).

As this simmers, add 2 T parsley, or more, if fresh
2 T oregano, or more, if fresh
2 T sweet basil, or more, if fresh
1 Bay Leaf
Pinch of thyme, or more, if fresh
Salt to taste

Simmer at least one hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

You can blend it to make a smooth sauce, but I love the chunks of tomato in it, as is.

Serve over any kind of spaghetti pasta. My favorite is Vermicelli, with slices of Mozzarella cheese, then the sauce on top.

Make it in the summer with as many fresh ingredients as possible, and then freeze it for the winter.

Note: Tomatoes are now said to be especially healthy, helping prevent certain cancers, reducing cholesterol, risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, even diabetes. Per AARP magazine [July/August 2011], tomatoes contain "lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that works by neutralizing free radicals (errant oxygen molecules that cause cellular damage in the body)."  So eat more tomatoes! Be healthy, happy, and wise.

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