Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Marinara Sauce

I know there are a lot of people out there that always but their own marinara or pasta sauce, either because they think they are too busy or because they think marinara is difficult to make.  I don't think there should be an excuse to buy marinara ever again, because this recipe is so simple and so quick.  The only vegetables you actually have to cut/chop are the onions and the garlic.  And it only needs half an hour to cook, most of which is inactive time.  This means that you are free to do something else while the sauce is cooking itself.  Keep in mind that this is a very basic, but incredibly tasty marinara sauce.  Most of the time I make this exact recipe, but I have been know to add things to it depending on my mood.  I have added chiffonaded fresh basil at the very end of cooking, Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo to make a spicy marinara, as well as a vodka sauce - add vodka and a cream substitute (unsweetened soy or almond milk works well), and a marinara with red wine.  There are so many options, but start off by making this one.  And if you like your sauce smooth, simply use an immersion/hand blender and blend it right in the pot, or allow it to cool slightly and blend it in the blender.  So easy.  Another great idea is to at least double or triple the recipe.  Use what you need and freeze the rest in pint and quart containers.  The next time you need marinara in a hurry, you won't have to reach for that bottled sauce - simply place the frozen marinara in a small pot over medium heat, and you will have a hot homemade sauce in ten minutes. 


Large Bowl of Homemade Marinara!  Yummy!

Yields: 1-1 1/2 quarts

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, small diced, about 1 1/2 cups
8 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups of cooked tomatoes, crushed with your hands
2 tablespoons tomato paste, optional - makes sauce thicker
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with fingers

1.  Place a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring periodically, for about 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.  Now add the spices: sea salt, black pepper, dried basil, oregano and thyme.  Stir to combine.  You could add the spices to the sauteed onions and garlic, or you could wait until after adding the tomatoes - whichever you prefer.  I prefer to add them to the sauteed veggies because I feel that it helps to evenly distribute the spices. 
2.  Now add both the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring until all the ingredients are well combined. 
3.  Allow the marinara to come to a simmer.  Once the mixture begins to simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low.  Allow the marinara to gently simmer for about half an hour, stirring periodically.  At the end of the half hour of simmering, taste the marinara and adjust spices or salt level. 
4.  The marinara is now ready to use.

Close Up of the Deliciousness!



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