Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Menu for 02/27/2011 - Making a Dual Purpose Marinara Sauce (Dude1)

To save time, I like to make up a big batch of homemade marinara sauce that serves as a great sauce for both homemade pizzas and for spaghetti nights.  It starts off as a thick sauce that I like to pull aside and reserve for pizzas.  I'll will then thin the remainder of the sauce with some sort of stock to be used on pastas.  The flavors in a homemade sauce are out of this world compared to your standard canned sauces in a grocery store. 

6 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
6 homegrown or organic tomatoes
12-15 leaves chopped fresh basil
3 Tbl dried oregano (double if using freshly chopped)
6 (or so) sprigs of fresh parsley
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 C red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can organic tomato paste

(for a meat spaghetti sauce)
1 - 2 C beef, vegetable, or chicken stock
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 lbs grassfed ground beef

(improv section)
parmesan cheese rind (optional)
2 Tbl pastured butter
6 chopped baby portabella mushrooms (optional)

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.  While the onions and garlic are cooking I slice my tomatoes in half and using my finger under cold running water to remove as many seeds as possible.  I've never tried leaving the seeds in so I'm not even sure it makes much of a difference to be honest.  Add the remainder of the ingredients except the tomato paste. 

At this point the sauce is going to be juicy with lots of liquid.  Reduce the heat to a light simmer. The trick now is to cook the tomatoes down until all the juices have been cooked off.  This is going to take approximately 2 hrs or so, but keep an eye on it and adjust as needed. 

Sometime during the slow cooking of my sauce, I was foraging through my fridge and realized I had baby portabellas and a rind from a parmesan wedge to use up.  These couldn't be more perfect for a marinara sauce, right?  I first sauteed the chopped mushrooms in butter to bring out the awesome mushroom flavor.  I then added them and the rind to the sauce.

After the sauce is done simmering it should look very thick with no juices left.  Add the can of tomato paste and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  I then pull enough of this out for about two homemade pizzas, approximately 2 cups worth.  

This sauce, as is, it too thick to add to pastas so now is the time to thin it out with some stock.  Water will work too, but stock will have added flavor and nutrients.  I had just finished making homemade chicken stock so this is what I used.  I imagine beef stock would be best if you plan on turning this into a meat sauce with ground beef as I did.  Thin the sauce out to your liking.  While the sauce continues to simmer with the added stock, brown your grassfed ground beef in extra virgin olive oil (or whatever other fat you prefer).  When the meat is done, combine it with the sauce. 

Your sauce is now ready to be poured over some organic whole wheat pasta with a bit of fresh grated parmesan on top. Enjoy!

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