Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm not going to lie. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from my kitchen lately or at least from blogging about what I have been up to in my kitchen. Well today the dry spell ended! I woke up this morning with cooking and Christmas on my mind. Weird I know, but what can you do? After breakfast and a lot of coffee, I dedicated the rest of my day to my long lost friend and to the spirit of the season. On today's menu: marinara!

Last year around this time I was fortunate enough to receive a Kitchen Aid mixer complete with the pasta attachments. Since then I have been making loads of fresh pasta and experimenting with tomato sauce. Marinara is simple enough and everyone has their own formula. Once you've found yours, I promise you'll be hesitant to buy anything in a jar again. Especially if you are crafty enough to jar your own.

Now as far as tomatoes go, I personally like to use canned when it comes to marinara. For one, canned tomatoes are much quicker and easier; no boiling or peeling required. Also, they have spent their shelf life swimming in their own juices giving them a rich flavor that can be hard to achieve with fresh. For an even richer sauce, feel free to add meatballs. I promise it will be worth it and should have a post up with a great recipe soon.

The base for the recipe below is found in Giada DeLaurentiis' Everyday Pasta and yields about 2 quarts of marinara. So long as you have a large enough pot, I say double it! Or you can be as ambitious as I was today and sextuple it! You can always freeze the extra or can it as I mentioned. I'll let you guess what a number of my friends will be receiving for Christmas this year...

basic marinara sauce
yields about 2 quarts

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stocks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more taste
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium - high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are tanslucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme and saute for about 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!