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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Yes, I snuck in some carrots!


We love pasta and it can always be counted on for making a quick week-night supper.  I am generally fine using a good quality jarred Marinara sauce, but always kick it up by adding things we enjoy - extra basil, ground beef seasoned with garlic and onion... that sort of thing.

My granddaughters, however, inform me their Dad never uses pre-made sauce.  He always makes his own.  So, I decided I would make the effort and make some sauce of my own, freeze it, and have it available for those days this Summer when the grand-kids are here and pasta is on the menu.

I've done it before but it always seemed to not thicken.  Today's effort is going to involve a longer cook-down time, hopefully reducing more of the water from the sauce.  Dinner tonight is to be an all vegetable sauce over Cappellini.  So, let's get started!

Debbi's Marinara

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
3 cups water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 medium onions - medium diced
2 small carrots - small diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic thinly sliced with my Martha Stewart Garlic Slicer/Press
3 cloves garlic rubbed with kosher salt to make a paste
2 of my ice cubes of olive oil with fresh basil
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

More fresh basil to finish with
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Add olive oil to bottom of stock pot and heat on medium.  Add onion and carrots and sprinkle with salt.

Cook gently until soft but not browned (about 6 to 8 minutes).  Add all of the garlic, the dried oregano and the "ice cubes" of olive oil and frozen fresh basil (see this post for how to preserve your fresh basil).

Stir for about 3 minutes to soften garlic.  Do not let it brown.  Add some pepper at this point - I added a large pinch.   If you like a little kick to your sauce, this might be a time to add some red pepper flakes.

Add tomato paste and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the raw taste, then add the large cans of crushed and whole tomatoes.  Finally add the cubed tomatoes, sugar, more pepper if desired, and a few pinches of salt.  Mix everything thoroughly.
My husband grew up where they can
Red Gold tomatoes - if they have it
at our grocery store - I always try
to use their products!

Add three cups of water (I rinse my tomato cans with about a cup of water - so this amount is an estimate) - stir to combine.

Bring to low simmer for one hour.  Check for taste - add more salt and pepper if it tastes too bland.  You want to season little amounts throughout the process, remembering that as it reduces, it becomes more concentrated.  An "average" amount of salt now, might taste too salty at the end of the process.  Be conservative.
You can see how much it has reduced.  All the veg is nice and
soft and ready to move to the  next step!

Continue on simmer for another hour.  Check to ensure all vegetables are falling apart soft.  If so, use an immersion stick to blend everything to a "roughly smooth" texture and allow to cook another hour (three hours total - as a minimum - I let it go for a total of 5 hours on a very low heat for the last two after blending).

Taste for final salt and/or pepper needs - add some fresh basil  - amount determined by your taste (roughly chopped or torn leaves) and allow to cook for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve over pasta at this point or cool completely and bag for freezing.  I made dinner with some of the sauce, bagged up 3 FoodSaver bags full for the freezer, and loaded up a jar for the fridge (which will be used within the week).  This sauce had a wonderful texture and a light, summery taste!

All-in-all a good day of cooking.  The house smelled great. Dinner tasted delicious.  Mr. Flip Flop said it was very good ... alls well that ends well!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!






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