Did you freeze whole, cored tomatoes in a freezer bag this past August? Please tell me you did - because then you can make this pasta sauce and enjoy summer fresh goodness all year round! Fresh (or frozen) tomatoes are tossed into a Dutch oven after you get some flavor going down in the bottom of the pot - you know - the usual suspects any Italian nonna would use - Italian sausage, olive oil, garlic, carrot. After browning up Italian sausage, set aside, then get the garlic and carrot cooking, throw in your frozen tomatoes, breaking them down with a wooden spoon until all soupy, saucy and lush. Whir with an immersion blender or something similar, add fresh herbs, return the Italian sausage to the pot, simmer for another 10 minutes, toss with pasta. The BEST pasta sauce you will eat.
Update (8/27/2015): Today, I made this for lunch, but made a couple tweaks because of what was in the pantry. Instead of ground Italian sausage, I had frozen, un-cooked pork meatballs in the freezer. I pulled them out of the freezer allowing them to slightly de-thaw while preparing the sauce (if they had been unfrozen and I wasn't in a time crunch (like usual), I would've browned them in the bottom of the kettle before sautéing the vegetables). After blending the sauce with the immersion blender, I added a heaping, no - gigantic, no - MONSTROUS handful of freshly grated parmesan to the sauce. At which point my immersion blender broke (into the sauce) and I thought a bolt dropped into the sauce. Sorry, kids! Christmas present idea, hubs?! Then, the slightly frozen meatballs were dropped in and simmered, covered, until cooked through. So, moral of the story — you can use a different type of meat, or none at all! And, a big handful of parmesan really made this over the top wonderful. Oh, and I added a teaspoon of sugar!
Fresh Tomato Sauce
1/2 pound Italian sausage
Minced garlic cloves (about 2 or 3)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
Any amount of tomatos (I used about 7 cups), cut in half
1/2 cup wine (red or white), stock or water
Fresh herbs (handful each of Italian parsley, basil, oregano)
Salt & Pepper
Note: The tomatoes you froze in August would be absolutely beautiful in this recipe - just throw them from frozen at the same time you would add the fresh.
Working in a large Dutch oven, sauté Italian sausage over moderate heat, break-up into small pieces, when fully cooked remove from pan. Set aside.
Add extra olive oil to the drippings of the Italian sausage to make about 3 tablespoons of fat. Toss in minced garlic cloves and sauté until golden and fragrant. Throw in diced carrot, cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes, mash with a wooden spoon, allowing them to cook and begin to break down. Add whichever cooking liquid you're using and let that simmer and cook down for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
Once the tomatoes are broken down, transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to achieve the desired consistency. I wanted mine pretty smooth, so I blended mine up real good. Toss in the fresh herbs and give that a whir to combine. Return Italian sausage to pot and let that all simmer and get happy for about 15 minutes. Serve over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan.