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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recipe! Marinara, Semi-From Scratch!

I absolutely love making sauces. There's just no substitute for an amazing sauce over whole wheat pasta or rice or on the grill. I've been making marinara sauce in particular for years, and my sauce has become almost legendary among those who have eaten it. One friend who lived far away demanded that I make huge batches of it whenever I would come to visit, so she could save it and eat it long after I was gone. I always considered this to be very high praise.

Unfortunately, I've never had a green thumb...in fact, I don't even have a pale yellow thumb. My gardening thumb is nonexistent, which I've always found odd; my mother and grandfather are and were both avid gardeners. nevertheless I basically can't stand gardening, and thus I never find myself in the happy position of having more tomatoes than I can handle. This is why I use canned tomatoes, which can be purchased rather cheaply at any market, and though I don't doubt fresh tomatoes would make the sauce even more delicious, I think they serve as a good substitute.

The most important aspect of this sauce is the seasoning. You can tailor this aspect to your liking...make sure that it has a good flavor before you start to simmer it, and the more you simmer it, the more complex the flavors will become. But if it's bland when you start to simmer, don't expect a long simmer to magically cure it. I'm going to include a short, easy recipe and a longer, more involved one...you pick what works best, based on how much prep time you've got.



Quick Marinara Sauce

Combine in saucepan on medium heat:

2 small cans tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T Garlic powder
1 T italian seasoning
1/2 T parsley
pinch of sugar
pinch of allspice
1/2 t of worchestershire sauce
1/2 t red wine vinegar (optional)

Stir until well blended and cover, simmer on medium low for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it starts to burn, turn down heat.

Not-As-Quick Marinara

1 large red or 2 small yellow onions
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small cans tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t Garlic powder
1 T italian seasoning
1/2 T parsley
pinch of sugar
pinch of allspice
1/2 t of worchestershire sauce
1/2 t red wine vinegar (optional)
 1 lb ground turkey, chicken, or beef (optional)

1. Chop onion and garlic and set aside. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce to pot, then add all seasonings. Stir well, cover, and simmer over low or medium-low heat.
2. While sauce simmers, begin browning meat in skillet. When meat is just brown, add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and flavors are well blended. If you aren't using meat, begin cooking onions and garlic in skillet in a Tablespoon or so of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and italian seasonings, if desired.
3. After sauce has simmered for at least thirty minutes, add meat or onions and garlic, and let simmer for at least another thirty minutes. Serve with crusty bread over whole-wheat pasta. Delicious!

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