Homemade Marinara Sauce

September 15, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More

homemade marinara sauce

I have just given myself a new title: VP of Tomato Management. I can no longer just call myself a decent gardener because the Tomato Envy gardens are a huge success this year. My raised beds are pumping out a wide variety of fresh veggies. And the tomatoes! I’ve harvested more than 200 pounds of them so far.

I’m feeling quite smug about my growing stash of canned salsa, pizza sauce, quart jars of whole tomatoes, tomato soup, and oven-dried tomatoes. I even have little jars of spicy tomato jam with a heavenly sweet heat. The problem is, even with all that stuff, I still have so many fresh tomatoes that Mr. P and I can’t eat them fast enough. I’ve learned many new ways to use my garden’s generous tomato bounty.

I recently worked on a homemade marinara sauce that, despite its short list of ingredients, tastes anything but basic- it’s rich, full of flavor and so versatile. I was frustrated by the relative scarcity of recipes that do not start with “28-ounce can plum tomatoes.” Many marinara sauce recipes start with canned tomatoes and cook up quickly. This one, on the other hand, starts with fresh tomatoes and it needs time to cook down and reduce over the course of a few hours. It’s a passive endeavor though. Once it’s a-simmerin’, you can just go about your business.

homemade marinara sauce

Amish Paste and Blue Beauty tomatoes

I’m growing a roma type tomato called Amish Paste. They are blocky and meaty without a lot of seeds or juice. I prefer them for homemade marinara sauce, but the sauce will taste even better if you incorporate other varieties. Don’t even think about making this sauce with supermarket tomatoes that are out of season. If you’re reading this in the winter, you’re better off waiting until your local farmer’s market (or garden!) can provide you with really good, vine-ripened tomatoes.

Ingredients (Makes about 1 1/2 quarts of sauce)

10 pounds of fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Step one: 

10 pounds of fresh tomatoes

Peel the tomatoes. Get a big pot of water boiling and set up a bowl filled with ice water next to your stove. Working in batches, drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook for about 45 seconds. Fish them out with tongs and drop them into the ice water. You should then be able to easily slip the tomato peels off like a jacket. After you peel the tomatoes, cut or dig the cores out with your fingers and tear the tomatoes into pieces into a very large bowl.

Step two: 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

homemade marinara sauceHeat the olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add all of the tomatoes, the garlic, the basil, and the red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.

At first, your sauce won’t look like much. It will be light in color and really watery. Don’t worry, just keep simmering. The sauce will cook way down, concentrating the flavors in the tomatoes. You’ll know it’s done when the sauce is vibrant in color and considerably thicker. Once you’re there, season the sauce with salt.

Freeze this homemade marinara sauce in portions and use it on demand all winter tossed with pasta, drizzled over meatball subs, and baked into cheesy eggplant gratins.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Favorites, Food, General, Recipes, Summer

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