A few weeks ago when my mom and I were
drinking bottles of wine ah, working on the pasture fence, we got the bright idea to take a break from the hard labor by clearing “the last of the tomatoes” out of the garden.
I thought there might be a basket of good tomatoes left…
I might have underestimated.
I mean, there were still quite a few that I didn’t pick in time, and this is how my mother decided to clear the garden of “bad” fruit. Stack them on the rake and fling them into the field.
I do not recommend this approach if you have actual neighbors, but it works pretty well when your backyard looks like this…
The big question, of course, was what the hell to do with all of those tomatoes. I already made 6 jars of salsa and canned a bunch of whole tomatoes, and I was pretty much done with chopping and canning. But thanks to one of the fabulous people who commented on my last tomato post, I learned that there was something called a Tomato Mill.
And now I own one…
This was no less messy than skinning and chopping by hand, but it was way more fun, which does count for something. And it gave me the perfect consistency for something that could be boiled down to a red sauce that could then–because I was effing done with the canning– be frozen.
I am 100% sure this was not my idea. It probably came from Pinterest. Either way though, totally brilliant. My family always froze the red sauce in big bricks that took approximately 432 hours to thaw, but the cubes can be portioned out and thawed in a minute or two in the microwave.
I also mixed the tomato scraps with some kale from the garden and froze it for chicken treats this winter…
One of the best things about the farm is that almost nothing goes to waste here.
Now, you know there was no way I was going to dress regular old boxed noodles from the store with my farm-fresh, homemade sauce, so this also happened…
Making pasta from scratch is one of the genetic gifts that comes with being Italian. Along with the ability to yell really, really loud.
Typically when I make pasta it’s for a family dinner, and it’s cooked an eaten right away. This time I actually flash-froze the pasta nests on a baking sheet and then packaged them up for storage in the freezer.
They cook in a couple of minutes just like regular pasta, and, yeah, it tastes even better than it looks.
If you’ve never made homemade pasta before, here’s my recipe:
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- dash of salt
- 1/4 cup or less of water
Mix flour and salt, make a well in the center of the flour, crack in eggs, add a little water, and slowly mix in the flour from the outside. It will look dry and clumpy for a while, but don’t go crazy with the water, keep adding as needed. Kneed with hands until a dough forms. Still may seem a bit dry, but as long as it’s sticking together you’re good. Cover with a wet towel and let rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Kneed again (it should be more pliable), then run through a pasta machine from the thickest setting to the thinnest setting. If you’re making pasta, run through the cutter for the appropriate sized noodles. Wrap in nests on wax-paper covered baking sheet. Freeze for a few hours. Seal in freezer bags. Take out, boil, and enjoy wheneverthehell you want.
So that was the last of the tomatoes, but certainly not the end of the garden for the year…