Marinara-ing : a Guide to the Classic and Simple Red Sauce
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Goal: if one, one person cooks for a significant other tonight because this gave them an idea, my job is done. Nothing says 'I love you' like 'I cooked this for you'. Especially if you are not typically the cooking type, that is effort my friend.
Now, onto today's one-of-my-million-versions of marinara sauce.
A classic marinara sauce, with the right type of tomatoes, makes the entire kitchen smell like a summer garden- not that we care for this around Christmas time, when we want everything to smell of starch and turkey, but paired with the right amount of Sauvignon Blanc, this recipe is sure to make you reminisce a couple of summer memories.
A disclaimer I often make: this is only one version of a recipe which I will alter forever, it all depends on what is in my fridge that day! Don't sweat the tomato ratio, try it with whichever amount you have and take delight in your creation. I also love to add a ton of basil in the summer as it is fresh from the garden- I am no fan of the current grocery store plastic box version. If you know of a greenhouse specialising in herbs around Montreal, do tell! Who am I kidding. Vermont and New Hampshire too, I'll drive.
You will need,
Tomato vine and cherry tomatoes or 5-6 large tomatoes
Garlic (8 cloves)
Yellow onions (2 small or 1 large)
Olive oil (TONS)
Chili oil (a few drops)
Salt and black pepper (as much as desired)
Organic basil-tomato pasta sauce (1/2 cup- OK to be fair, I was going to add half a cup, but when I started pouring, I glanced at the baby monitor and when I turned around half of the bottle's content was gone)
Linguine (I used a lemon-pepper pasta, the spicy zesty taste combined with the cheese was fantastic!)
Mozzarella (shredded, a handful- if you like cheese added to your sauces)
Milk (1/2 cup- should you want to rosé it, no obligation)
The good thing about this recipe is that it starts out vegan, but you can also go off-path and add cheese and milk. Options are always a yes.
Adding milk near the end of the cooking time can turn it into a rosé, should you wish to alter the taste (from fresh to rich and creamy, not a easy choice to make darling, not an easy choice).
A few simple steps,
1. Sautée the minced garlic in olive oil plus a drop of chili oil over medium-heat (medium to large pot) for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
2. Add the onions and chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir for another 5-7 minutes, until tender.
3. Lower heat and cover for 20 minutes (I personally like to let it simmer -covered- for at least 40 minutes: the longer you let them cook, the more they blend into each other and have more of a liquid consistency- so it's up to you, I like to play with Ella and go check on it every so often until the time is up), stirring every 5-6 minutes.
Note: if you choose not to cover, make sure you reserve 1 cup of pasta water aside and gradually add it as you add in the pasta and mix.
4. Add the pasta sauce and stir for another 5 minutes (an alternative I like: a can of diced tomatoes).
5. Add milk and stir for about 5 minutes.
6. Add mozzarella and the sauce is ready to serve once it is melted.
7. Season with salt and pepper and say 'ta-dah' in a theatrical tone- hand gesture strongly suggested. You can add the pasta off the heat and mix thoroughly.
8. Serve with fresh basil leaves, Parmesan or even a fresh tomato salsa!