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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homemade Marinara Sauce - Tomato Based Pasta Sauce

There are many many brands of marinara sauce available in the grocery stores, however my favorite sauce has always been the homemade kind. It  is an easy recipe and a quick preparation too. Also, you can make this in advance and freeze it for later use. Homemade marinara tastes fresh and light. This is a recipe you can improvise on and change based on your taste preferences by changing the proportions of the ingredients. You can add an assortment of vegetables into the basic marinara to change the taste everytime you prepare it. This is a recipe that I have demonstrated to a few friends and is probably one of my  most requested recipes.

For the basic marinara sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt to taste
5-6 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar (optional - see method)

Vegetables that can be added
bell peppers, sliced (assortment of green, red/yellow/orange)
mushrooms, diced
broccoli florets

In a broad, deep pan heat the oil and add the onions to it. Next add the garlic. Season with a little salt and let the onions and garlic cook till the onion becomes transparent. Next add the italian seasoning and stir it and then add the diced tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook the tomatoesfor a few minutes. Then add the water and cook till the tomatoes soften up.  Then take about 1-2 cups of the cooked down mixture and blend it into a puree and add it back to the sauce. Add salt and taste. If the tomatoes are not in season, they maybe a little tart and the sauce may taste a little sour. If so, add a little sugar and balance out the taste. The sauce is ready. Toss it with pasta and serve hot.

You can blend the entire sauce to get a smoother consistency or blend it partially for a chunky texture. You can add sauteed or partially cooked vegetables to the sauce, and cook them together. If you cannot find italian seasoning, then instead you can use a blend of basil and oregano. I have added a mix of diced bell peppers to the sauce in the pictures, by sauteeing them in a little oil in a pan and then adding them to the sauce. Then I cooked it for a few minutes, before tossing it with the sphagetti squash. Top with some parmesan cheese for a richer taste.


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