Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Marinara Sauce

I'm sure y'all will start noticing that one meal that comes up repeatedly in our lineup is spaghetti. We absolutely love spaghetti with marinara sauce around here. LOVE it. I used to always think twisting open a jar was the only way this meal could be easy, since I had the impression that homemade sauces required hours of tending and stirring. Not so! Over the course of the last year or so, I have worked to develop a recipe for the best homemade marinara sauce possible. After lots of experimenting, this is the one I think I will stick with for the long haul. It is lively with a depth of flavor that belies the fact it only takes a little over an hour to make (with only about 15 minutes of that being active cook time!).

A tip: don't skimp on ingredients. Buy the best canned, WHOLE tomatoes you can find. I love these by Cento. Also, if you can locate it, the Italian tomato paste you buy in a tube is not only absolutely wonderful for its rich flavor, but it is also so much more convenient than having to pop open a can to take 2 tablespoons and leave the rest to spoil at the back of your fridge. (Haven't we all be there before?)

Amy's Marinara Sauce

1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
1/3-1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (35-oz.) can whole tomatoes
2 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, and saute until golden, about 8 minutes. (Don't rush this step! Onions that are golden, and not just translucent, impart so much delicious flavor to the sauce.) Add garlic and carrots, and saute 2-3 minutes more, until garlic is fragrant and carrots are slightly softened.

Add wine all at once to the onion mixture. Boil, stirring constantly, until wine evaporates almost completely, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. (At this point, your mixture should be very thick, with the wine/paste thoroughly coating the onion mixture.)

Add tomatoes, basil and oregano to the pot, stirring well. Using a potato masher, crush the tomatoes until sauce is fairly smooth in consistency. Season with salt and pepper. (You can also add some crushed red pepper at this point if you desire.)

Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until sauce is considerably thickened. (It is important not to cook the sauce too fast here; a slow simmer, with just a slight bubbling at the surface, will help the sauce reach its best consistency.)

This recipe can easily be doubled, and leftovers can be frozen in Ziploc baggies to be thawed for quick weeknight meals. Serve with your choice of pasta, and enjoy!

1 comment:

Stacy said...

This looks so good Amy! I love marinara sauce!