Yep, this is a real recipe. Not a haiku about marinara, though that might be fun! Not a poem about Italian food, however, if you would like to send me to Italy to write about the food, be my guest!! This is just a recipe that has served me well over the years. Thought I’d share it with the net.
Marinara is a handy thing to have around the kitchen. So much can be done with a basic marinara, from using it as a base for spaghetti and meatballs, to spicing up appetizers, and creating edible nuggets out of leftovers. I make a large batch ~ being single, anything more than “serves one” is a large batch :) ~ then freeze single servings in freezer zip style bags, as the smaller servings thaw quicker than full batches. This is my recipe for basic marinara. It will make four cups.
5 ounces or 140 grams ~ white or yellow onions
3 ounces or 86 grams ~ carrots
2 ounces or 56 grams ~ celery
1 large clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 32 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes with juice (can’t find the big can? That’s okay little cans recycle just as easily),
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Chop onions. Chop carrots. Chop celery. Chop garlic. The trick for consistent cooking is to make your pieces as close to the same size for each vegetable. If you are planning to “smooth” out your sauce in a blender after cooking, don’t worry about how small you get the pieces, just chop them all to be about the same size.
Heat EVOO in a large pot (I used a 3 qt pot, because it’s all I own ~ very versatile) over medium heat until fragrant (there is nothing better in the kitchen than the scent of warm olive oil, except maybe warm chocolate…). Add onion and cook 10 minutes or until translucent. You may find you need to reduce the heat to keep the edges of the onion from burning. Once onions are cooked, add carrots, celery, salt and pepper, and cook another 10 minutes. Once cooked, add tomatoes and the juice from the can, garlic, and bay leaf. Turn heat to simmer (low) and let simmer for one hour. Do not cover, you want the liquid to thicken. When cooked, remove bay leaf.
From here you can pulse or blend to smooth out the sauce if you prefer smooth over chunky. I like the pieces to be big, but that is just me. This marinara freezes well.
I use this sauce with spaghetti, but it is also good for Italian Open Faced Egg Sandwiches (see below), or a fun little dish is to take stale, or almost stale french/sourdough/italian bread and break into chunks. Put the chunks in an oven proof dish. Pour sauce over bread, and grate cheese over the top. You can use mozzarella, cheddar, romano, asiago, even fontina works well. Set oven to 350 and bake until cheese melts.
As this is a basic sauce, it will take whatever spice you like to add when warming up the sauce. I will post a second recipe for spicy marinara that goes really well with chunky pasta like shells or farfalle.
Italian Open Faced Egg Sandwiches:
1 slice of French or sourdough bread
Basic Marinara Sauce
Spread sauce to desired thickness (go ahead slather the thing!) on slice of bread. Top with fried egg, salt and pepper to taste.