Friday, September 19, 2008
VCK Marinara Sauce
Here is something I make a lot. I like to make my own marinara sauce because I know exactly what's in it. Plus, it doesn't take too much time and it's easy.
I start by sauteeing up onions and whatever vegetables are around. Usually this ends up being carrots, bell peppers and zucchini. Then I add a shit-ton of garlic. This is a precise measurement, people. Not one clove, not 3 Tablespoons, but a "shit-ton."
Then I add a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, lots of S&P and some dried herbs--usually basil and oregano. Sometimes parsley, but only if I'm feeling daring. I usually also add parmesan or other hard cheese rinds that I freeze just for this occasion. If you've ever wondered what to do with your inedible cheese rinds, you've found the place. It adds a really yummy flavor. You just gotta fish it out before you serve it, lest someone end up with a soggy cheesy remnant.
Sometimes I can't find the large can of crushed tomatoes, so I get diced or even whole and just squish 'em up with my hands. This can be fun, and quite cathartic if you're frustrated with someone. Just imagine the slippery tomato is that person's slimy head you're crushing. Really, it makes you feel better!
Then, essentially I let it simmer for a really long time.
See? That's the rind in there.
Today I had some fresh spinach that needed to be used up, so I chopped it up and added it to the sauce. You can't taste 99% of this stuff once it gets incorporated. It's like chili. Everything ends up tasting like chili. All the vegetables do here is lend some sweetness (in the carrot's case) and nutrients to the sauce.
I usually let it simmer away for at least an hour. Mind you, this is mostly inactive time. You don't have to babysit, just reduce the heat a lot, pop on a lid and let it go. You don't have to do it this long, but it helps the flavor.
Then I use it for whatever! Pasta, pizza sauce, etc. Once I even made "eggs in purgatory," a dish where you poach eggs in the tomato sauce. (Kinda like this one.) I served it over some garlic bread and it was awesome.
If I'm not planning to use the sauce right away, I just put it in the freezer. Voila!