Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden
Our garden is bursting. It has overrun its beds like a river rises out of its banks after heavy rains. Ironically, those heavy rains are what has caused the garden to be so productive. We are firm believers that, even though it was “free” food, we don’t want to waste it. Our new favorite meal from the garden is homemade spaghetti sauce with grilled eggplant. Of course, the Italians call it sugo con melanzane e pomodori. That sounds so fancy.
Making the Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
I usually grab the tomatoes that are the ripest and blanch them so that removing the skins is easy. The eggplants are sliced with the skins on and then grilled using a little olive oil to keep them from sticking. We could be snobs and only use Roma tomatoes, but the purpose of this dish is to use what is about to go bad and so we use any ripe tomato we have. We grow Ichiban eggplants. They are smaller than what you find in grocery stores and I think they are more tender. Once they are grilled, I use a fillet knife to remove the skins from the eggplant as it tends to be bitter. Cut into 1″-2″ pieces.
In a sauce pot, (actually I use a Teflon wok) saute a small onion, finely diced until it starts to turn clear. Add some minced garlic, but do not let the garlic brown. Cut the peeled tomatoes into chunks (again, I chop some and just squeeze others) place in the pan with the onions and garlic and cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the eggplant.
Continue to cook until you have your preferred consistency. Add a little fresh basil. If you cook it longer, there will be little to no “sauce”. We like it fairly thick as you will see in the photo below.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Deserves Homemade Pasta
This seems like overkill, but if you are going to make homemade spaghetti sauce, it really does deserve homemade pasta. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and the pasta attachments and that helps a lot. I am still a pig on roller skates when it comes time to actually cut the pasta. I have to make the wider noodles as I am completely hopeless with spaghetti.
Unfortunately, I made extra and it was used up in the next couple of days. I’ll be making more (and probably a larger batch) in hopes of building up a stash for winter. One mistake I made was that I used the smaller pint jars. We need a quart of sauce for a pound of pasta and I will be filling the appropriate sized jars next time.
The Finished Product
COVID-19 has us on lockdown, dreaming of taking a trip to Italy. Or maybe it is just remembering the wonderful time that we lived in Italy… Either way, it is wonderful to be able to use the produce from our garden and to bring Italy a little closer. It is good for the soul!