Jan 31, 2011

Simple Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce

I whipped up some marinara sauce for a dinner with friends we had last weekend. It was then that I noticed my marinara sauce was missing from my blog! Well, missing… I simply never posted it. Shame on me. I’m a sad excuse for a food blogger.

I always make my sauce from scratch. It’s hardly any work, you get to add vegetables that influence the flavor, plus you don’t have that foul chemical aftertaste that comes with store-bought marinara sauce. I mainly use dried herbs because often I’ll cook this after I put my son to bed. Spur of the moment thing. I’m all for late-night cooking when the house is all quiet. But don’t let that keep you from using fresh herbs!

I don’t like a chunky marinara sauce, so I puree mine. Aside from that, the sky is the limit. Whenever I can get my hands on San Marzano tomatoes, I’ll use those. Sometimes I add a splash of red wine; it intensifies the flavor. I play with different herbs, or add some anchovy fillet. Replacing the white sugar with brown sugar also works really well.

When it comes to homemade marinara sauce, anything goes. Here’s my basic recipe.



Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
1 large garlic clove
1 medium onion
1/4 red bell pepper
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
11/2 tsp sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 bay leaves

Optional: basil oil



Directions:

I always add vegetables to my sauces. I just miss lots of flavor in a pure tomato sauce.
Marinara Sauce

Peel the carrot and cut everything in coarse pieces.
Marinara Sauce

Transfer it to a food processor (or chop it by hand). Grate the garlic over the bowl because you don’t want someone biting down on a big hunk of garlic. It’s nasty, really.
Marinara Sauce

Blitz a couple of times. And there we are, the perfect veggie base for a sauce.
Marinara Sauce

Heat the oil and sauté the vegetables over low heat for 10 minutes.
Marinara Sauce

Add the tomato puree and cook for a minute to sweeten it up.
Marinara Sauce

Pour in the diced tomatoes, these were pomodori. My marinara sauce is usually very thick, if you like a thinner sauce add another can of diced tomatoes.
Marinara Sauce

In goes the sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg and herbs. You can add brown sugar as well, it tastes great.
Marinara Sauce

Give everything a good stir and bring it to a boil.
Marinara Sauce

Add the bay leaves. Simmer the sauce, over low heat, for 45 to 60 minutes.
Marinara Sauce

Here’s my secret ingredients. After roughly 20 minutes I add 2 tbsp basil oil. If the sauce gets too thick during cooking, add water.
Marinara Sauce

After 45 to 60 minutes it’s a wonderfully thick, fragrant sauce. Discard the bay leaves.
Marinara Sauce

This is fully optional and it will change the structure and color of the sauce, mind you. I use my immersion blender to puree the sauce a little. Check the seasoning.
Marinara Sauce

I especially like pasta with a simple marinara sauce, some grated Parmigiano and a little extra basil oil drizzled on top. Garlic bread on the side. Yum.
Marinara Sauce

What’s your secret sauce ingredient?

Simple Marinara Sauce
Ingredients
    3 tbsp olive oil
    1 medium carrot
    1 celery stalk
    1 large garlic clove
    1 medium onion
    1/4 red bell pepper
    2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    11/2 tsp sugar (or brown sugar)
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 tbsp dried basil
    1 tbsp dried parsley
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
    2 bay leaves

    Optional: basil oil
Directions
    Peel the carrot and cut the vegetables in coarse pieces before adding it to the food processor bowl. Grate the garlic over the bowl and blitz a few times.

    Heat the oil and sauté the vegetables over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for a minute to sweeten it up. Pour in the diced tomatoes, these were pomodori. My marinara sauce is usually very thick, if you like a thinner sauce add another can of diced tomatoes.

    Add the seasonings and herbs and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the bay leaves. Simmer the sauce, over low heat, for 45 to 60 minutes. After roughly 20 minutes I add 2 tbsp basil oil but this is optional. If the sauce gets too thick during cooking, add water.

    Once the sauce is done you discard the bay leaves and use it as is or puree it using an immersion blender. Check the seasoning.
Meal type: sauces
Servings: 4
Copyright: © kayotickitchen.com

    © kayotic.com
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    28 Comments »

    1. 1

      I make a similar sauce but use zucchini and bell peppers (but no celery), and my secret ingredient is anchovy fillets and anchovy oil.

      Delphine on Jan 31, 2011 @ 8:45 am Reply
    2. 2

      @Delphine:

      I really like the idea of adding zucchini! Haven’t tried that yet. Anchovy fillets do add a wonderful flavor to the sauce.

      Kay on Jan 31, 2011 @ 8:49 am Reply
    3. 3

      Ik doe er een flinke scheut Crema Di balsamico door en in plaats van witte ui gebruik ik rode ui. Courgette is inderdaad heerlijk en rode punt paprika’s en wat losse snoep tomaatjes op het laatst door de saus in stukjes.

      Yvonne Overduin on Jan 31, 2011 @ 10:31 am Reply
    4. 4

      Lekker! Je mist alleen de ui in je ingrediënten lijst.

      Ilse on Jan 31, 2011 @ 2:04 pm Reply
    5. 5

      @Ilse:

      Heb er zo’n hekel aan als ik dat soort dingen vergeet! Thanks.

      Kay on Jan 31, 2011 @ 2:42 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Nou ja, het maakt mij niet uit, maar ik zat door de ingrediënten heen te lezen en ik dacht “Wat? Geen ui in een recept van Kay?!”  :P

      Ilse on Jan 31, 2011 @ 3:00 pm Reply
    7. 7

      *drools*
      My secret ingredient is … secret. ;P

      karohemd on Jan 31, 2011 @ 3:03 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Delicious! I don’t have a secret sauce ingredient, but maybe your suggestion of basil oil can be my new one. I like the idea of anchovies as well though.

      Jenna on Jan 31, 2011 @ 5:28 pm Reply
    9. 9

      @Ilse:

      Dat is ondenkbaar :)

      Kay on Jan 31, 2011 @ 5:30 pm Reply
    10. 10

      KISS, Kay,KISS!
      Italians Keep It Simple, and marinara sauce is usually garlic and tomato, period. Originally this “Sailor’s Sauce” had to be made in the time it took the water to come to a boil, and the pasta to cook.
      If this is your *Simple* Marinara Sauce, (10 ingredients) then I’m  afraid to inquire about your *complicated* marinara sauce.  ;-)
       

      Remo on Jan 31, 2011 @ 7:32 pm Reply
    11. 11

      @Remo:

      That’s why it’s my marinara sauce. And I’m not Italian, period :)

      Btw, an Italian friend of mine said it depends on where in Italy you come from, if there are veggies added to the sauce.

      Kay on Jan 31, 2011 @ 7:59 pm Reply
    12. 12

      Looks delicious, I’m definitely going to make this :).
      What would be the best moment in the process to add some anchovies?

      J. on Jan 31, 2011 @ 8:46 pm Reply
    13. 13

      @J.:

      Right at the start. Add the anchovy fillets and mash them into the olive oil until they melt. Then you add the vegetables.

       

      Kay on Jan 31, 2011 @ 8:48 pm Reply
    14. 14

      Ah great, thanks!

      J. on Jan 31, 2011 @ 9:32 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Looks perfect ! I like your idea of cooking after your son is in bed…peace and quiet always helps :)

      Arch on Feb 1, 2011 @ 5:46 am Reply
    16. 16

      Funny but the way you start your sauce is the same way i do and also the way I start most savory soups except with the soups I usually leave out the bell pepper.  It is almost like the trinity in creole cooking.  I love to get the flavor of the veggies started.  Adds so much to the flavor of whatever I am making at the time.  About the only difference besides that is I usually don’t add the sugar to the sauce.  Very flavorful and really works well with spaghetti.

      dick on Feb 1, 2011 @ 9:44 am Reply
    17. 17

      Looks fabulous, Im definitely going to try it! I like that you puree it, thats a great idea. Isnt it funny but in Australia, Marinara is a seafood sauce, it usually has calamari, prawns & baby octopus.

      hemlock on Feb 1, 2011 @ 10:37 am Reply
    18. 18

      This is one of the better marinara recipes I’ve seen! Nice job!

      Katrina on Feb 1, 2011 @ 1:57 pm Reply
    19. 19

      Some vinegar is helpfull to “brighten up” the flavours which can sometimes become a bit dull after simmering for such a long time (I use it in many other types of ragu’s etc)

      Robin on Feb 1, 2011 @ 11:15 pm Reply
    20. 20

      Great recipe, thank you!  I love Italian and this sauce seems to be a little more flavorful yet lighter than many I have used in the past.

      Eric on Feb 3, 2011 @ 1:06 am Reply
    21. 21

      If i want to substitute real tomatoes for canned and pureed, how do i do that? Canned tomatoes are not readily available where I’m from :)

      Elizabeth on Feb 4, 2011 @ 8:46 am Reply
    22. 22

      @Elizabeth:

      I use about 7 large and super fresh tomatoes. The really plum and deep red ones. You’ll need to remove the skin, core them and optionally take out the seeds. You might need an extra hint of sugar or tomato paste when you use just fresh tomatoes.

      Kay on Feb 4, 2011 @ 8:53 am Reply
    23. 23

      I JUST made marinara sauce 2 days ago! I don’t like chunky either and since I don’t have an immersion blender, I actually put the diced organic tomatoes in the food processor with all the veggies.  I put in all sorts of stuff that my boys wouldn’t eat like mushrooms, zucchini, I also added onion and carrots but then put the garlic cloves in my sauce “whole” and let them soften up while it simmered. Then I mashed them up before serving in on some organic brown rice pasta. 
      A great vegetarian dish!

      I love your blog. Keep up the great work!

      The Lunch Lady on Feb 5, 2011 @ 3:02 pm Reply
    24. 24

      My secret ingredient it’s just a little bit of milk, for the color and for the taste…anchovies I only add to ragu’ bolognese

      Katia on Feb 6, 2011 @ 12:06 pm Reply
    25. 25

      I want to make a batch and keep it on hand, how should I store this?

      Sarah on Mar 7, 2011 @ 7:55 pm Reply

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