Monday, August 17, 2009

Can Your Own Marinara

It's easy to guess that because my favorite meal of all time is spaghetti, that I am a huge lover of marinara sauce. No meat...just the basics. I could drink it (and in the past couple of days have been found to be doing just that over my stove as it simmered!)

I'm going to give you my recipe but keep in mind this takes A LOT of tomatoes because I like the consistency to be thicker than a thick soup - more like what you can buy in the store. And to do so, you have to simmer it a long time and what's left is tomatoes. If you don't have the right amount of tomatoes, mostly what you have of course, is water.

about 100 medium tomatoes
6 medium onions
3/4 cup of Italian herbs (or your preferred combination of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoramm)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

See, there's just not a lot to this.

So first off, blanch and peel all of your tomatoes. You'd have to do this to can them anyway so it's not extra work. At this point, I throw them in the food processor and chop them all up. It's pretty soupy now, so dump them in a colander with small enough holes that most of the seeds don't go down the drain. You're getting rid of extra water/juice. Believe me, there's still plenty left. If you like your sauce lumpy then omit this next step but if you like it smooth the way you can buy it in stores or served at restaurants, then now process all of it in the blender, a few cups at a time. This is important.

Meanwhile, heat your oil in a very large non-stick pot. You'll regret the non-stick during simmer when it starts to burn. I've done this and it sucks to burn a whole batch. Chop your onions (again, I love my food processor for this because they can get diced really small without the tears) and put them into the hot oil. Add the Italian herbs mix and mix them all together and turn down to low/medium heat. They will sweat it out and the onions will turn translucent. Leave them to intermingle flavors for about an hour on simmer after the onions are done.

After this, add your tomatoes to the onion mixture. Bring to a slow boil on medium/high heat and then immediately down to low/simmer. Now comes the long haul. My last batch simmered for 29 hours to reach the right consistency. It won't take you this long because you drained the tomatoes. I forgot that step this time and paid for it. You may have to simmer for 12 though - don't worry. You'll taste it after about 6 hours and you'll start to recognize the flavor. At first it'll taste just like tomatoes and onions but slowly it'll take on the marinara flavor that is so delicious.

Once the desired consistency is achieved, water process it for 30 minutes in either pint or quart jars.

Note that some people might add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of sugar to their sauce prior to processing to add some acidity for the canning process. I don't do this because we will eat the sauce probably within 6-8 months which is too soon to worry about weird problems occurring. But if you plan to store yours for longer, you might want to do this unless you decide your variety of tomatoes contain enough acidity that vinegar won't be necessary (check the extension office if you're in Utah or online if you're not). But the sugar will combat the acidity of the vinegar and probably won't be too noticeable.

Anyway, this recipe should make about 8 quarts of sauce. I'm sure there are way easier recipes out there that turn out way better - but I like mine. I like the process and the feeling afterward. Simmering something on the stove makes me feel...wholesome. Call me weird.

3 backward glances:

Aislinn said...

Thanks so much for sharring this! I'm not a tomato fan, but we love sauce and salsa and I had no clue where to start! I was just thinking that I needed to find a good recipe and try something new! You're a lifesaver! THANKS!

Smockity Frocks said...

Oh, wow! This looks simple and SO good! I'll have to give it a try!

I love the photo, too!

Rachel said...

This is why you are never bored!!