Comfort Food: Fresh from the Garden Spaghetti

I love comfort foodmacaroni and cheese, shepherd’s pie, pot roast, and, or course, spaghetti.

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Spaghetti is my go-to meal for a variety of occasions ranging from nights I just don’t want to cook to nights I am feeding a large crowd.  It is tasty, filling, inexpensive, and easy! Add a salad and maybe some garlic bread and dinner can be done in as little as 20 minutes! 🙂

Yup, 20 minutes, even if I am making the sauce from scratch!

The below sauce takes a bit longer than that, because it is using fresh tomatoes, but if you are in a hurry, just use two big cans of whole Roma tomatoes in place of the fresh tomatoes, and start with step 4.  Since canned tomatoes are already cooked, you can reduce the simmer time to just a few minutes.  🙂

I’ll be honest, most days I use canned tomatoes.  But, when those fresh tomatoes come out of the garden (in mass quantities), this is a great way to use them up.  Last year, I made a few extra batches of sauce, cooled it and put it in the freezer in gallon freezer bags.  Yum!

I start by boiling a large pot of water.  While that is coming to a boil, I core my tomatoes.  IMG_1395

Add the tomatoes to the water and cook for one minute.  The skin should start to pull away from the tomato. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and place in a dish of cold water to cool.  Pull the skin off of the tomatoes and set the tomatoes aside. IMG_1397

Heat the olive oil in  a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft and golden brown.

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Add the meat and brown, using a spoon or potato masher to break it up.  (Sausage is a good option, too.)

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Add the shredded carrot (which adds sweetness to the sauce) and garlic.  Cook, stirring, one to two additional minutes.

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Add the tomato paste and tomato sauce.  IMG_1405

Stir.
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Add the tomatoes, and use a potato masher to crush them into the sauce.

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Simmer the sauce, covered, for  about 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, make the pasta according to package directions. (I used linguine.)

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Toss the cooked pasta and chopped basil with the sauce, adding some of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen the sauce.  IMG_1415

Plate it up with some Parmesan cheese and extra basil.  I like a bit of a balsamic vinegar reduction on the side for a little added sweetness, but my husband prefers it without.

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Here is the full recipe:

Spaghetti with fresh Roma Tomatoes

  • Servings: about 6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • ~15 Fresh Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lb. Pasta of choosing
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Carrot, shredded
    3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 T. Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1lb. Ground turkey or beef
  • 1 t. each Dried Oregano, Italian Seasoning, and Dried Tyme
  • Fresh Basil (to taste)
  • Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

Directions:
1. Core the tomatoes and place in a large pot filled with boiling water. Cook for one minute.
2. Remove tomatoes and place in a cold water bath for one minute to cool.
3. Peel skin from tomatoes (it should have loosened in the water).
4. Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.
5. Add onion and cook until golden brown and softened.
6. Add the meat and brown. (I use a potato masher to break it up.)
7. Add carrot and garlic. Stir and cook for one – two minutes.
8. Mix the sauce, tomato paste, and dried herbs into the meat mixture.
9. Add the peeled tomatoes, and use the potato masher to break them up.
10. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
11. While sauce simmers, boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions.
12. Chop the fresh basil.
13. Add the drained pasta, basil, and about ½ cup of the cooking water to the sauce.
14. Serve with Parmesan cheese and additional basil.

That’s all there is to it! Once you have a basic recipe, it is easy to change it up! Add a little cream or melted in some cream cheese.  Substitute in sausage. Add some spice by adding a diced jalapeño with the onion or some crushed red pepper with the dried herbs.   🙂

What is your favorite comfort food? Are you a pasta fan? Have a great way to change up classic spaghetti? Let us know in the comments! 🙂

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Susi Borath finds time to write between minor league baseball games, creating new cookie recipes, trying out new Pinterest-inspired crafts, and juggling more laundry than any two people should be able to produce. You can find more about her at http://susiborath.com or follow @susiborath on Twitter.

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