A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: My Take on Mom's Marinara Sauce

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's For Dinner Wednesday: My Take on Mom's Marinara Sauce

Happy first day of summer!

What is better on a 95 degree day that happens to be the first day of summer than a hot pot of marinara sauce?  Okay maybe not, but this is a great recipe to break out when you've got a day at home since it cooks low and slow for several hours and it's good if you're around to stir it occasionally.  While I was getting something done around the house before my afternoon at the beach I decided to make a batch as it's great to freeze and use again (or freeze and have ready for those nights when I am away and Alex has to fend for himself).

Spaghetti was always one of my favorite meals that my mom made growing up and for as long as I can remember she made her own sauce.  Her recipe has evolved over the past few decades and I have made my own tweaks to it as well, which is the great thing about marinara sauce-- there are about a million ways to make it and you can hardly ever go wrong.  I think it's especially great to make your own since you can control how much salt, sugar, oil goes into it and it can be a really healthy addition to any dinner.  It can also be pretty budget friendly as canned tomatoes are always on sale and this recipe makes probably 12-15 servings.  So, get out your slow cooker and start experimenting!


My Take on Mom's Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup red wine *I prefer to use Chianti, but any dry red will work
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 28 oz. can tomato puree
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz. water *just fill one of the cans
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. dry Italian herbs *I like a combination of basil, oregano, and parsley, but an Italian seasoning blend will work or any combination of your liking
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Set your slow cooker to low heat and add the wine.  Separately, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the the tomato paste to the onion and garlic mixture and cook for about 8 minutes.  Add the tomato paste mixture to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients through salt and pepper.  Stir ingredients to combine and cover.  Let the sauce cook on low heat for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.  After 5 hours remove the lid and cook for one additional hour on high heat to thicken.  Remove the bay leaf and serve or let the sauce cool and store.  I like to portion it out into smaller containers and then freeze them so that I can take out and use just as much as I need for dinner.

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