Homestead Recipe: Fire Roasted Garden Pasta Sauce

homestead recipeI love tomatoes. I love the smell that lingers on my fingertips after a harvest, I love holding a big warm, red tomato in my hands, feeling its weight. I rejoice in the sight of a bushel of this juicy red fruit, waiting to be picked and put to good use. 

For me, there is nothing better than a BLT with a thick slice of beefsteak tomato. The ultimate satisfaction is having enough to make and can your own sauce, and to this end there are many variations. 

Garden Fresh

homestead recipe
For the last 20 years I have not been able to have a garden. The property was either too shady or too small to allow for a garden of my dreams. Our garden is 9 raised beds with a variety of veggies and fruits, but my first request was that we plant the mother load of tomatoes. 

As of this writing, Todd and I have harvested approximately sixty pounds of tomatoes. These includes beefsteak, heirloom, romas, and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes don’t make it very far, they are a snack break in the middle of a harvest. True, some go into salads and sauces, but most I eat right from the plant. 

homestead recipeThis garden is not Martha Stewart pretty. The plants are so prolific and large they bend the cages that were meant to help support them and they now sprawl across the center aisle showing off how hearty they are.  The plants are so dense that the leaves hide the occasional fruit and can be discovered by checking at all angles. 

I found a beauty the other day while in the adjacent chicken run. I reached over the chicken wire fence, bending it a bit to get this large perfect fruit. It couldn’t be seen from the garden side, but looking from the opposite side gave opportunity to witness gifts from the tomato gods that will soon be in our kitchen. 

Homestead Tomato Pasta Sauce

homestead recipeWe will harvest again in a day or so, but with cooler weather ahead the season will likely last only about one more month for these delectable treats. The reward? We have been making sauce and canning as we go so that come mid winter we can continue to enjoy what nature has provided us, nourish our family, and dream ahead of next season’s crop. 

Each batch of sauce is different. For this one we incorporated two good sized bell peppers, about eight oblong shaped onions, at least fifty small cloves of garlic and two banana peppers. Why banana peppers? Because we had them, that’s why. It’s a garden sauce. 

homestead recipeWe got right to work rinsing off all of the produce. For a true Fire Roasted sauce one would set the tomatoes over and open flame, but we did not do that. Our large sauce making pot has a thin enough bottom that once we had all the tomatoes in the pot and set the heat on, a few chunks of the exposed flesh seared before letting the juices flow. 

That is all this batch needed to take on a smoky flavor, different and gourmet tasting, like something one might get if lucky enough at an Italian Bistro while eating fresh bread dipped in olive oil. 

homestead recipeIn a separate skillet we sautéed the chopped onions, garlic, and the peppers. With olive oil. To the large pot of tomatoes we added about half a cup of olive oil and let it begin its process of releasing its juices, stirring occasionally. After about fifteen minutes we integrated the sautéed onion / garlic mixture and added three heaping tablespoons of dried oregano. Now comes the waiting. 

For about two hours we stirred occasionally. During this time we ran the canning jars through the dishwasher to sanitize them and got the lids ready to boil. Once the sauce had reached the perfect consistency we added a tablespoon of sugar and a bit of salt to desired taste. 

Separating the Seeds

homestead recipeNow it was time for the Foley mill. There are other ways to get the seeds and skin out of your sauce (boil a batch in the beginning until the skin splits, peel and squeeze out the seeds) but this is a much faster method. 

We scooped out about three cups of sauce into the mill and began spinning, first one direction, then the other, allowing only the sauce into a clean pot. What is left in the mill are the seeds and skins which went into a separate bowl to be given to the chickens. 

Repeat this process until you have processed all of the tomato sauce. We had the lids in boiling water to soften the glued edge and with clean hands we removed the sanitized jars. One jar at a time we used a canning funnel to fill them, wipe the edge and seal with a lid (using tongs).

Canning for the Season

homestead recipe
From this batch we produced three large jars of sauce. I was a bit surprised, expecting more, but not disappointed. This sauce will be excellent over penne, used in a lasagna, or just over simple spaghetti noodles perhaps with crumbled sausage.

It took about twenty pounds of tomatoes to make three beautiful  large jars of our Fire Roasted sauce that will be placed on our canning shelf with the jams and pickles we have made so far this season. Worth the effort? You bet. It was satisfying connecting with the earth and our bounty, and simply spending time with my husband, working together. 

Homestead Recipe: Fire Roasted Garden Pasta Sauce


20-25 lbs Fresh Garden Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
3-4 Onions
10 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tbs of Dried Oregano
2-3 Bell Peppers
2-3 Banana Peppers
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Slice/quarter all tomatoes and place in a large pot. We use a lobster pot. Start on high heat to singe the lower layer of your tomatoes. Once you smell hem blackening, reduce heat to medium and begin to stir until soupy. 

Finely chop the onions and garlic and sauté with just enough olive oil until clear and soft. Add these to the tomatoes, continue to cook and stir until everything is broken down and is stew-consistency soft, about an hour.

Process the cooked-down tomatoes, onions and garlic through the foley mill into another large pot. Finely chop the bell and banana peppers and add to the strained sauce. Stir in oregano and remaining olive oil.

Cook down this tomato base until it reaches your desired consistency, about 2-3 hours depending on heat. Stir to protect from burning.

Once sauce is at desired thickness, salt and pepper to taste. Do not do so before hand as the reduction will intensify your flavors considerably. 

For canning, use the water-bath method and boil for 45 minutes at sea level, adjusting for your area.

We created a wholesome, healthy, pesticide free, all natural sauce that will provide dinner for the family. There is pride in these small made batches of sauce that you simply cannot get from buying even the most gourmet store-bought sauce. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We’d love to hear your comments!


Nancy W said…
Sounds like you have an awesome harvest, I'm so jealous! We've been getting good tomatoes from our CSA and the Farmer's Market but it's not like having your own harvest!
- Nancy
Lisa L Lombardo said…
This sauce looks delicious! I only got a handful of tomatoes this year...such a strange gardening season here in the Midwest!

I hope you'll stop by and share your post on Farm Fresh Tuesdays this evening (or tomorrow!) and enter our giveaway!
I just tried your recipe and it was the bomb! The whole family loved it. Thanks for Sharing it! :)
WT Abernathy said…
Hi Virginia:)
So glad you liked it! It was a happy accident, but wow did it turn out alright:)