Friday, May 2, 2008

Classic Marinara

Ah, marinara sauce. One of the essentials of a kitchen, it remains a mystery in a glass jar for most. I decided to give it a whirl after reading up on the basics and consulting my mom, who is also a fan of cooking fresh foods. It took a few tries but this is the method I've found that produces the most flavorful, full bodied sauce.

Note that the wine in the final step is critical -- quality doesn't necessarily matter, but the type you use will affect the end product. White wine tends to create a mild orange marinara, comparable to a lean vodka sauce. Red wine will produce a deep burgundy or bright red spicy sauce depending on which you choose; zinfandel produces the darkest sauce, while pinot noir creates a zesty "summertime" marinara.

The first step is roasting the tomatoes. To pit them, slice each in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Roasted tomatoes:
3 lbs roma tomatoes, pitted
1/2c olive oil
1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme
2-3 tbsp oregano
3 tbsp basil
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300. Place tomatoes pitted side-up in a large baking pan, combine garlic onion spices and salt and sprinkle over tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover the pan with tin foil and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Crank the heat up to 500 for 25 more minutes, and remove to cool.

Sauce:
1/2c wine of choice
2 tbsp tomato paste

Take roasted tomatoes and blend in a food processor for 15-30 seconds, or until pureed. Note that there should be some olive oil and spices left in the pan; these are great served with fresh bread, so don't blend them in or chuck them out. Simmer the processed tomatoes in a saucepan with paste, add wine and stir often for 20-30 minutes. Serve fresh.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I'm making this for the second time now, with all the ingredients from my garden except the olive oil, wine and tomato paste and salt. The first time I made it it was way too salty for even me, and I like salt. Other than that this is an amazing delicious marinara recipe with the perfect thick texture and very rich flavor. My mom is a fan now too.