Saturday, October 13, 2012

Marinara Sauce: The Tomatoes' Slaughter!

I decided to make some homemade marinara sauce in the hopes it might be a fun and cost-effective way to stock up on some pantry essentials. Wow was I mistaken! $40 of locally grown Alaskan tomatoes from Bell's Nursery (20 lbs.) only gave me 6 quarts of sauce. I could probably buy that at the store for around $16. It is certainly delicious, but I don't think the fresh tomatoes made much of a difference. It was a good learning experience. Next time I'm starting with high quality canned tomatoes. It will be far more time and cost effective. That being said, here is what I did!

First I cored, blanched and peeled all of my tomatoes. Then I cut them in half and, with my fingers, scooped out all of the seeds. I strained the seeds in order to put the juice back in the pot so I would keep all the good flavor. I diced the tomatoes and them moved on to the onions. Here is my overflowing 8qt. (7.5L) tub of prepared tomatoes:

In a huge pot I added around six finely diced yellow onions and a scant half cup of olive oil. I sauteed these until they were translucent and had just begun to take on a golden color. To this I added 6 tablespoons of crushed and minced garlic and 2 tablespoons each of dried: basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. If you wanted to you could add any of these herbs fresh, but you would need to increase the amounts accordingly. After I'd tossed these in, I deglazed the pan with 1.5 cups of red wine. I can't remember what I used now.

After those flavors had a chance to meld, I threw in all of the tomatoes. What a sight!

Me, in a baby pool of tomatoes and wearing a tomato hat for a Renaissance Fair!
I cannot remember who took this photo, sorry!

I let the sauce reduce and cook down for a really really long time, stirring to make sure the bottom didn't scorch. After it was sufficiently cooked I threw it into the food processor and, batch by batch, I pureed some of the larger chunks out. I added salt and pepper also and adjusted for taste. These tomatoes weren't as sweet as I would have liked, so I had to add about a tablespoon of brown sugar to add depth. 

Can I even express my distaste for this electric stove with a broken microwave above it?
When I am able I'm ditching it for a gas stovetop with beautiful hood vent.
Being young and in school can be tough!
It is like camp cooking.
Longest caption ever!

Anyway, the sauce is delicious. I packed it into quart jars and froze it. I use it sparingly, it is great on pizzas and as a base for pasta sauce. My sweetie likes to add sausage and other veggies to it. 

Next time I'm beginning with high quality canned tomatoes....that is, until I have a greenhouse. I hope you have your own marinara adventures!

Unfortunately the best photo I've got.

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