Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Farm Fresh Marinara


You should know right off the bat that this sauce has ruined me for pre-made marinara.  Nothing tastes quite as good as homemade, does it?  This recipe is full of fresh local tomatoes, carrots, and onions.  The most time intensive part of the process is peeling the tomatoes.  I have to admit, it took me a while to really get the hang of it, but now it is no big deal.  


I make this sauce several times during tomato season and freeze it for easy or last-minute meals.  I only use this recipe for stuffed pastas like ravioli, cannelloni, or stuffed shells because it is a pretty thin sauce.  It isn't really hearty enough to carry just noodles but it cannot be beat when paired with a delicious spinach and cheese stuffed pasta.  :)


I usually don't make this on the night I plan on using it.  I just allocate some time on an easy cooking day or a day I have off from cooking entirely to throw this together.  It keeps in the freezer for 3 months, so it can be enjoyed well after tomato season has ended.  Just heat and serve!


Once the tomato prep is complete, the sauce comes together very easily.  The rest of the veggies get minced in a food processor before cooking, so there isn't even a ton of chopping, YAY!  Active time over the pot is about 15 minutes and there is 40-45 minutes of simmering to allow the flavors to really develop.   I have tried this with both fresh and dried herbs, and I have to say, I strongly prefer using dried herbs.  They just add so much flavor without turning the sauce green from the sheer volume of fresh basil, oregano, and thyme I would need for the same flavor impact.


Ingredients (Makes about 5 cups)

5 pounds of tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
2 small carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C red wine
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of red pepper flakes
sugar as needed



Directions

  1. To peel the tomatoes, bring a large bot of water to a boil.  Have a large bowl with ice water nearby and a large empty bowl as well.  Working in batches, submerge the tomatoes and let cook until their skin begins to split, usually about 2-4 minutes.  Once the skin has split, remove the tomato and submerge in the ice bath to cool.  Once cooled, move to the empty bowl.  Continue until all the tomatoes are done.  
  2. Once cool, cut around the top and remove the base of the stem.  The skin will easily peel off the entire tomato.  Place all peeled tomatoes in a largo bowl.  Using your hands, crush the tomatoes to the desired consistency for your sauce.  I like to keep my tomato pieces pretty small so they are easy for my young daughter to eat. 
  3. Place the garlic, carrot, and onion in a food processor and pulse until minced scraping the side of the bowl as needed.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion mixture and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the wine and continue to cook until reduced slightly, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the tomatoes and their juices, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Taste for acidity.  If needed, add 1-2 Tbsp of sugar.
  7. If not using immediately, allow to cool before storing or freezing.  



Adapted from Myra Goodman's Food To Live By

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