Cooking 101: How to make the versatile & vegetarian staple
As winter bears down upon us, the days are short and the nights are cold ~ it’s the perfect time to warm up with a hearty pasta dinner. This Green Monday we’re spotlighting an oldie (first featured almost exactly two years ago on wht) but a goodie of a recipe – Marina Sauce. We recommend that you make this simple sauce over the weekend and than reap the rewards with a quick, delicious meal during the busy week. ~ wht
I never knew how to make a homemade Marinara Sauce (my Italian Grandfather is somewhere clicking his tongue at me right now). So when on a recent visit to my house, wht writer Pam volunteered to share her recipe with me, I jumped at the chance. Seeing how truly easy it is to make, I’m embarrassed to think about the many jars of sauce I’ve bought in my lifetime!
Marinara is a vegetarian sauce that gets it’s name from the word marinaro, Italian for sailor (or specifically, seafaring), as it was a quick and easy, yet hearty sauce made for sailors when they came home from sea.
It’s inexpensive, delicious and your first step in mastering Italian cooking. Once you get the hang of it, you can add just about anything; wine, mushrooms, crushed red pepper for a spicier sauce. The possibilities are endless.
Ingredients: (makes about 2.5 quarts)
- 3 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (here’s a case where more expensive is truly better)
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 1/3rd cup vegetable oil and olive oil blend*
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh or 1/2 tbsp dried of each: oregano, parsley, basil
1. In a large pot over medium heat; saute the carrot and celery, seasoned with the salt and pepper in the blended oils until tender – about 7 minutes.
Tip: Why a blend of two oils? Olive oil cooks hot, so a blend (which you create yourself, don’t try to find this in a store!) will make sure you don’t scorch the oil.
2. Add onion to the carrot and celery mixture, cover and cook 10 minutes (stirring frequently to avoid burning), until the onion has caramelized.
Tip: Just what the heck is caramelization? It’s cooking, until the sugars in a vegetable are released, resulting in browning.
3. Move vegetables to the side, allowing the oil to fill the center of your pot. Add garlic to the oil, cook for 1 minute, then mix vegetables into the oil and cook for 2 additional minutes.
4. Add tomato paste, stirring to coat all the vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
5. While the vegetables and paste are cooking, blend the whole tomatoes in a Cuisinart, emulsion or standard blender, to the desired consistency. If you are using fresh herbs, these can be blended with the tomatoes.
6. Add blended tomatoes to pot. If you are using dried herbs, they should be added now (rub them in your palms to release the oils).
7. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, adding a bit of water if the sauce gets too thick.
The sauce can be made 1 day (or a few) ahead of eating, and we highly recommend you do so! It really does taste better after giving the flavors a day to marinate. Just be sure to allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat before using.
I hope you enjoy this family favorite this winter!
Recipe thanks to we heart this review team member and kitchen guru, Pamela Irene. She lives with husband David in Orange County, CA and works in the management office at the ‘happiest place on earth’ – South Coast Plaza. She can also mix a mean cocktail and is the owner of the largest bath & body collection we’ve ever seen.
skin tone: NC 25/30
skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea
favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products