So, I’m against certain chefs/tv personalities/food snobs/bloggers who DEMAND that people only use high quality products, or ONLY-HOMEMADE goods. (Oh, what’s that? You don’t make your own sandwich bread every single day? Shaaame on you.… < / end sarcasm >) But there is only one thing I insist upon: homemade tomato (marinara) sauce.
I realize that “time” is a big issue for a lot of people. Don’t worry, I wont get into my whole “People need to slow down; in todays society, people are overworked” speech. Many people (women and men) I’ve talked to, treat making their own sauce (today we’ll be zoning in on marinara specifically) as some type of David Blaine-esque magic trick. They’re almost amazed…really??
It’s pretty much this: Throw some onions, garlic and a can of tomatoes in a pot – simmer for 30 mins.
Whoa, are you ok? I think you should sit down.. it looks like I JUST BLEW YOUR MIND!
This is only part 1 of a ?? part series. Since variations and possibilities are endless, I’ll definitely be showcasing more sauces later. Let’s just start with your everyday “spaghetti sauce,” or “marinara.” As we go through, I’ll split off into two versions: The first being “You only have 30 mins.” and the second being “You’ve got some extra time.” Ingredients labeled with either, can be removed for which ever situation in which you find yourself.
Let it be known that this recipe will cover 2, maybe 3 plates o’ pasta. I’m a sauce fiend.. so for the BF and me, this really only covers 2. Oh, and a serving size of pasta (according to the back of the box) is only 2oz. But we might eat more than that….
Carrots may sound weird to a few of you; but the carrots provide a natural sweetness. You NEED some sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, otherwise the sauce will taste like a dirty penny. The carrots go in the pot at the same time as the onion and garlic. Overall, the addition of carrots will cause the cooking time of the sauce to be a little longer so that they become tender (about 50mins instead of 30.). If you do NOT have 50mins, just add a good pinch (~2 tsps) of regular ol’ sugar, about 5 mins before the sauce is done.
Now… to paste, or not to paste? Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated tomato ..well, paste. It gives a deep, sweet tomato flavor, and helps to thicken sauces. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll throw in 2 tsps of tomato paste. If I can stand to wait for the sauce to reduce and thicken on it’s own, I’ll do without. Orrrr sometimes I’ll add only 1 tsp, just because I feel like it.
So again, it’s up to you. See what I mean? Sauce is sooo easy, you can do whatever the hell you want with it, and it’s hard to mess it up!
I prefer a smooth consistency, so I decided to blend my sauce at the end. You can do this with a standing blender, or a stick blender. You definitely do not have to do any of these things.. and sometimes I don’t.
I’m not hatin’ on anyone who buys premade sauces.. last year when I went home for Christmas, I spotted a few jars in my ma’s cupboard, and I almost passed out. All 22 years of my life living with her, she would’ve cut off my hands if I touched a jarred sauce. But these past few years, manufacturers are being smarter about the products they make. There are a lot of good quality jarred sauces in your grocery store. But YOU’VE got to be the smart one: read the damn labels. If you cant pronounce the ingredients, or if the sodium and/or sugar content is in the triple or quadruple digits, RUN AWAY.
This freezes BEAUTIFULLY. Let it cool in the pot to room temperature, throw it into some freezer-safe plastic containers (or an ice tray,) and pop them in the freezer. Boom. Done.