just in time for fall: tomato sauce

the last couple weeks we were inundated with tomatoes from our CSA, driftless organics and from another farm we sometimes get vegetables delivered from, vasa gardens. neither dave nor i are huge fans of tomatoes, but we LOVE tomato based products which meant i was going to use up all the tomatoes making tomato sauce – just in time for the cooler weather!

except the mushrooms and ground beef, all the veggies were from the 2 farms.

everything is chopped, sliced, diced, minced and ready to go!

and TA-DA! a gorgeous hearty tomato sauce. this was the remainder after we had some for dinner (which you’ll get to read all about tomorrow).


HEARTY TOMATO SAUCE (adapted from the kitchn)

1 yellow onion, diced (i used whatever we had in our CSA box – it was yellow)
1/2 package of mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup sliced)
1 red pepper, diced (again, I used what was on hand – 2 small peppers)
4 cloves garlic, minced (i firmly believe you can never have enough garlic, so put as much as you want)
2ish lbs of tomatoes (this is a total guess, i just used all the tomatoes we had)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (to taste, i was generous)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 lb lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste

*immersion blender*

Heat one teaspoon oil over medium-high heat sauce pan/pot. Add the meat and cook until browned and golden. Lift the meat out with a slotted spoon and let it drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but a teaspoon of the oil in the pan.

Add the onion and a big pinch of salt, and cook until the onion is softened, translucent, and starting to turn brown. Add the mushrooms and another big pinch of salt. Cook until all the mushrooms are turning golden brown. Add the pepper and cook until softened. Clear a little space in the middle of the pan and saute the garlic just until it starts to smell great.

*tip from the kitchn* If a brown burnt-looking crust starts forming on the bottom of the pan, that’s ok. If it starts to actually SMELL like something is burning, add a teaspoon of water and turn the heat down to medium.

Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices. Scrape the bottom of the pan to lift up that brown crust Sprinkle the oregano and any extra spices over the sauce. Turn the heat down to to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low. Remove the bay leaf. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Take the immersion blender and give it a few passes through the sauce (be careful of splattering!), until you have the desired consistency. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and taste. Add salt and sugar as needed. I ended up adding about 1 tablespoon of sugar and a big pinch of salt.

Stir in the cooked meat, turn the heat back up to medium and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

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