Kitchen Basics : Marinara Pasta/Pizza Sauce
It's that time of the year again when tomatoes are dirt cheap, my street vendor was selling them for Rs3/kg this morning. Yes that cheap. And this is also the time I stock up on the tomato goodness for a while, tomato pickle, sun-dried tomatoes, pasta sauces and this year I am even thinking of making a tomato ketchup.
For me Marinara is a pantry staple, has to be there at home ALL the time, that this makes for child's most favorite and easiest to put together pasta helps too. Boil the pasta, stir fry some veggies, dunk the sauce and voilà dinner or lunch box ready in minutes. Making the sauce is time-consuming yes but fairly simple and it doesn't need much of your attention anyways.
and the use of this sauce is not limited to pastas, I use it for pizzas, I use it sometimes for sandwich spreads, as a dip. It can even be used as a sauce to be had with grilled chicken or grilled fish. Truly a multi use sauce.
Source - various internet sources put together.
- Heat water in a wide bottomed pan, add tomatoes and blanch them, until they are cooked enough for the skin to peel off. Peel the tomatoes when cold. Chop them roughly.
- Add butter and olive oil to the same or another pan (I used the same), add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add and let it cook well. I like to caramelise the onions at this stage but cooking them only till soft will work. Add the tomatoes at this stage and mash them a bit using a wooden spatula or potato masher. Let it stew.
- After about half hour of the tomatoes stewing, add the herbs, I added basil like I mentioned in the recipe but you can add thyme, oregano or any other herb you have handy. For me the combination of tomatoes and basil is like a match made in heaven. At this stage add the chopped red bell peppers also. You can also oven or gas roast your red peppers before adding them to give a slightly different flavour. Also add the wine at this stage if you are using it.
- After stewing it for 30 more minutes, check the flavoring and add more salt if needed, paprika (use if possible since it gives a nice red color but doesn't make it very spicy), the balsamic vinegar and stir well. Let it cook for another 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes the sauce should be thick and tomatoes nicely cooked. Let it cook and puree it if you like at this point. I like it chunky but since the resident brat, O likes it not chunky. I pureed it.
- Store in clean, dry sterilised bottles for upto 10 days in fridge and upto 6 months in the freezer.
So what are you waiting for, make a batch and tell me what else are you doing with those tomatoes?