I hate buying pre-made stuff at the store, don't you? I have especially broken myself of this habit since leaving the US as many of the convenience items I was used to I had trouble finding here in Germany. One of those things I hate buying pre-made is Marinara sauce, or just simple tomato sauce. Why not just make my own from ingredients that I like? Oh yeah, and also because its super freaking cheap to make your own.
I tend to make this is big batches and keep it in the freezer. I keep it simple - adding no more seasonings than you see listed here - and then I season or add ingredients to it when I use it. I might add sauteed mushrooms or grated fresh parmesan or sauteed ground beef. I might dice up carrots, broccoli, or squash, or stir in some balsamic vinegar or heavy cream. I use the sauce for everything from pizza to lasagna to pasta to dipping sauce for breadsticks and pretzels.
Its just a good simple tomato sauce that is extremely handy to have on hand (this and veggie stock and cooked beans are in my freezer at all times). I imagine if you make it in the summer time from your own tomatoes it would be just divine (crossing my fingers that I will be able to this year), but I like knowing that I can make a decent tasting marinara no matter the time of year - and usually with things I already have laying around. When I don't feel like cooking, we can still have a nice meal by boiling some pasta and tossing it in this simple marinara - maybe with a bit of Parmesan and some salad on the side. Easy, cheap, fast comfort food that costs next to nothing but doesn't resort to convenience foods (and bonus - I calculated that 1/2 cup of this sauce only has roughly 54 calories). Love it.
2 cans (400 g or 14 oz) whole tomatoes
3 shallots, diced (about 1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
10 or 12 fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
2 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper
Chop the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice from the can (you can of course use fresh tomatoes if they are in season and the tomatoes are super ripe).
In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes (do not let the garlic brown).
Add the tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste and season gently with salt and pepper. Bring to a strong simmer and cook uncovered for around 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt/pepper if necessary. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for another 25 minutes or so.
Remove cover and add basil and cook for just a few more minutes. Taste a final time and season as necessary. Very carefully, with an immersion blender, blend until the big chunks are gone. You don't want it too smooth, but not too chunky either (you can put it in a blender too of course, just pulse it once or twice, but maybe let it cool a bit before you try to transfer it).
Let cool completely then freeze in sturdy plastic bags or glass jars, let defrost overnight in the fridge then heat over the stove as needed.
I heart film. - A little over a year ago I bought a Canon Ae-1 and last week I found the first roll of film I shot on it and finally had it processed (Its been a crazy year ...