If you want a way to jazz up almost anything in the kitchen, this is the recipe you need. Marinara is the way to take the tomato to new heights. Whether you need to spice up your pasta or dunk your bread sticks, marinara is just the ticket.
Marinara Goes With Everything!
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Marinara – No Rules!
Ok, there’s one rule….more on that later. That’s an on going joke between my son-in-law and me, but it really is true. You start with the basic sauce and the sky is the limit as to how you can make this simple sauce your own. And then there are the unending possibilities of how to serve it….
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What kind of tomatoes you ask? It really doesn’t matter. If you have just come in from the garden with an armful of fresh ripe tomatoes you can make it out of them. If it is the dead of winter and you are only wishing for those fresh tomatoes, you can use the ones you canned when you had that over abundance. And if you are all out of those, yes even the store bought cans will do. But from there you make this marinara uniquely your own.
To Peel Or Not To Peel.
If you have them canned, they are probably already peeled. If they are fresh then you have a choice. Peeling them will give you a smoother finished product, but it will take you a little longer to make. Not peeling them will add more fiber. The choice is yours.
You can make the Marinara by simply putting the canned tomatoes in a sauce pan, adding your herbs and boiling it down. OR… you could roast your tomatoes (and other vegetables if you are using them) in the oven to impart that rich, roasted, caramelized flavor. You can leave it chunky or use a blender. Or for the easy way, use an immersion blender to make it smooth as silk. See, no rules.
What To Add To The Tomatoes.
Now that you have the base for the marinara sauce, you need to decide what flavorings you want to include. A basic Italian version would include some fresh minced garlic, and maybe some fresh basil and oregano too. Don’t have fresh? Dried herbs and bottled garlic will work just fine. See, no rules!
But from there the sky is the limit. Maybe you want to include a splash (or two) of your favorite wine. Or maybe you like grilled bell pepper. Spice it up with a touch of jalapeno minced fine or just some hot pepper flakes. Maybe you like yours a little less acidic, then add a pinch of sugar. A little cooked burger or sausage turns your simple marinara into a meat sauce. See what I mean about no rules?
How Long Do You Cook It?
This is the million dollar question. That depends on how juicy your tomatoes are and how thick you want your sauce. Some people will take the seed section out and use only the meat of the tomato to cut down on the cooking time. But I hate to waste any of my precious tomatoes so I just cook them longer to boil away some of the extra juice, making a thicker sauce. That’s totally up to you.
Now, what do you do with marinara?
Let me count the ways!
Marinara goes with anything except chocolate cake. Well almost anything. A simple marinara can round out so many dishes. It’s great with bread sticks, fried ravioli, or calamari. Add it to pot roast, meat loaf or cook muscles in it.
It adds pizzazz to almost all cooked vegetables, like these zoodles. I love this new zoodle maker. What a fun way to get more vegetables in your diet! Put it over any pasta. Poach eggs or fish in it. Cook it down well and you have a pizza sauce. Now have I got your imagination juices flowing? But remember, the recipe is only a starting point. Keep those imaginations going and you will make a marinara that is uniquely your own!
The One Rule.
As I said at the beginning, There is one rule. You need to start with that irresistible orb of garden heaven, the tomato! Now go and create your own masterpiece!
And Have A Ducky Day!