An Easy Marinara Sauce

Recipe: Marinara Sauce

This post was going to be about baked ziti, a dish that I’ve had on my list to make for quite a while. But the recipe also included a link to a recipe for Marinara and I decided to first make my own sauce from scratch. Well, one thing led to another on Sunday afternoon and I ended up not getting around to making the baked ziti (yet), but I do have the sauce already made for it!

If that looks like a lot of ingredients for a Marinara sauce, it’s because it also includes the ingredients for the still-to-be-made baked ziti. This uses everything in the above picture except the pasta, cheeses, and sausage. As I read over the list of ingredients I was surprised to see carrot included and sugar omitted. Usually a tomato sauce includes some sugar to counter the acidity of the tomatoes. This uses the natural sugars in the cooked-down carrots for that purpose.

Prep is very straight forward, cut the vegetables into a small dice and cook them over medium heat in a covered pot for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them cooked thoroughly so they kind of melt into the sauce, but not browned. The original recipe calls for canned whole tomatoes, broken apart by hand. I opted for canned crushed tomatoes and that worked just fine.

After adding the tomatoes and basil, stir to combine and cook on a low simmer for an additional 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, but be sure and taste before seasoning to make sure you don’t over-salt the sauce.

I made a double batch of this so that I have some to freeze after making the baked ziti. I think this will make an excellent addition to any recipe that calls for a basic tomato sauce. It was easy enough to make that I might start doing the same thing I do with stock, make my own and freeze it rather than buying it at the grocery store. The flavors in this Marinara are more complex and I bet it’s way healthier than all the other sauce-in-a-jar options available at the store.

Rating: 4 out of 5 glasses of red wine for this Marinara. Speaking of red wine, I think adding some to the veggies while they cook down would be a good idea. I’ll try that next time.

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7 Responses to An Easy Marinara Sauce

  1. Amber says:

    For more depth of flavor use the fire-roasted tomotoes. I always add red pepper flakes for a little kick. And lots of garlic (at least 2x what the recipe says). I never buy this in a jar anymore. So much better homemade!!!!

    • JT says:

      fire-roasted tomatoes? never seen them in grocery store. I’ll look for them next time.

      I’d also like to try this with fresh tomatoes and see what has to happen differently, if anything. You could really cook up a mess of this sauce and can/freeze it for year-round use, if it’s not too much hassle to use fresh tomatoes.

  2. Jane Bennett says:

    Looks yummy. I got tired of the too sweet spaghetti sauces I was buying so started making my own. I make a large batch and then freeze in small containers or freezer bags and pull out a serving at a time. I prefer to freeze in containers since I’m also trying to be considerate of the environment and not use too much plastic. I like you also thought even though I use canned tomatoes overall mine has GOT to be healthier than store bought.

  3. Ellen says:

    Most reviews that I have read say that canned tomatoes are okay and preferred over under ripe or the many “salad” varieties of tomatoes. Centro is an excellent brand. I’m sure it was delicious. Did you make home-made ziti? BTW, I like cooking with wine too …. sometimes I put some in the food.

    If all the delicious sauce is gone … and it looks so good that it probably was enjoyed by all, here is a recipe for the leftover pasta. I made it a couple of weeks ago as one of the courses of an Italian Dinner our Gourmet Group did:

    Butter and Sage Sauce with Pasta
    Mario Batali, revised by EBP

    Fresh Pasta
    2T of butter per person
    ½ clove of garlic person
    ½ T of lemon per person
    Pinch of dried sage per person
    ½ T of chopped parsley per person
    1 oz of Parmigiano-Reggiano per person
    Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

    Bring salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook fresh pasta 3-5 minutes
    Melt butter over low heat – 1 Tablespoon at a time
    After all the butter is melted, raise the temperature slightly
    Continue cooking until – Noisette (nutty, golden but not black)

    Add garlic to the Noisette just before brown

    Add lemon juice

    Then reduce heat and add the dried sage, chopped parsley, capers and sage leaves

    Add the pasta

    Adjust seasoning, add Salt and Black Pepper

    Top with cheese and serve immediately

    • JT says:

      Fresh pasta? Ellen, you are way too hardcore for me. I can’t imagine attempting fresh pasta.

      That said, this sounds delicious. I may try it with regular old store-bought pasta.

      jt

      • Ellen says:

        Fresh pasta is easy but not a weeknight thing. Try an Atlas Marcato Pasta Machine, 150, a simple classic low tech, hand crank machine. Make the dough in your Food Processor. We have great memories of our kids cranking the pasta machine and enjoying plates of pasta and bowls of noodle soup. When they were in kindergarten learning the alphabet we always signed up for N or P day. All the kids love cranking noodles aka pasta. I think it is a necessity for a man who has 5 Grandsons !

  4. Pingback: Baked ziti, finally | Wine and a Spoon

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