Saturday, January 3, 2009

Marinara Sauce

The hubby and I were supposed to be out of town at a wedding today, but another winter storm blew in, so we were stuck at home. (It probably sounds like we live in one of the nine circles of Hell. Nope, just North Dakota. And we're actually pretty fond of it.) With our day unexpectedly free, we caught up on some important tasks that we’ve been neglecting, such as napping and reading comic books.

But as my bedtime nears, I’m finally starting to feel somewhat productive. Hey, better late than never. So I decided to cook ahead and make a few batches of marinara for some easier weeknight meals in the next few weeks.

I use this marinara sauce in several recipes, such as my roasted red pepper meatballs. I experimented with the recipe quite a bit I settled on what works for me, which is this spicy, garlicky concoction. You can adjust the amount of garlic to your liking, and the crushed red pepper flakes are optional, if you don’t like the spice.

I typically make two batches at a time, pour the sauce into freezer bags, and then freeze the bags flat on a sheet pan. The flat bags store very easily, and thaw quickly if you soak the bag in hot water for a few minutes.

Marinara Sauce
Makes 2-3 cups

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ Tbsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. pepper

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add onions and garlic and saute until golden, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.

3. Bring ingredients to a boil. Try to keep sauce from erupting all over kitchen. Cover and reduce heat, simmering 1 hour.

4. Remove bay leaf. Cool completely before storing in refrigerator or freezer.

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