It's that time of year when you can get great deals on roma tomatoes. My family looks forward to these sales because they know it means I will replenish our supply of homemade spaghetti sauce. I found organic roma tomatoes for a steal of a deal so I knew it was tomato time. I utilize my slow cooker to make spaghetti sauce so that I don't have to leave a pot simmering for hours on my gas stove. Open flames + 2 crazy kids = nightmares for mom. Slow cooker seems to be used synonymously with fast/easy/not-a-lot-of-work. Don't let that fool you here, because if you want fire roasted spaghetti sauce then you are going to have to roast your tomatoes over a flame. You can't do that part in a slow cooker. What the slow cooker is great for is giving the sauce time to develop flavor. Now, don't let that scare you away because homemade spaghetti sauce is awesome. This recipe makes a huge batch. I'm talking you could probably sauce 8-10 lbs of pasta. Freeze it, can it, do whatever suits you for preserving this stuff and enjoy it for months. Soon your family will anxiously await those summer tomato sales so their own supplies can be replenished.
10 lbs roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
3 tsp sugar
1 bunch fresh basil (about 25 leaves), chopped
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1. Preheat an outdoor gas grill to high heat. Roast the tomatoes on the grill until skins begin to blacken and burst, turning so that each side gets cooked. Remove the tomatoes and set aside on a tray or baking sheet to cool a bit. Remove the peels and any inedible parts.
2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and then saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
3. Transfer the onion mixture to a slow cooker/crockpot. Add in the peeled tomatoes, salt, sugar, basil, and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree everything together until fairly smooth. (If you don't have an immersion blender then put everything into a blender or food processor in batches and transfer it all into the slow cooker).
4. Add in the bay leaves and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Store in jars in the fridge if you will be using it within then next 1-2 weeks, or freeze it in quart sized freezer bags. Alternately, you can can it following proper canning procedures.