It’s Friday, happy Friday, I hope you are so happy, because it’s FRIIIIIDAY! Ha! I’m excited another week has come to an end, since it brings us closer to our 4th of July trip to San Diego and because, well. Let’s face it. I just love weekends. Maybe one day I won’t live for them so much, but in the meantime, there it is!
Check these bad boys out:
And here is the Facebook conversation that followed when I posted this picture and asked for a marinara recipe:
￼Shauna: Gotta peel tomatoes then just cut em up throw em in a pot and they will cook down…. Add fresh herbs and spices… Bam marinara!
Shauna: Let me know if you don’t know how to peel them
￼Amy: I think I can peel them, which is the easiest part BTW Love how you give such vague instructions for cooking all the time lol I need more direction than that! How long will they take to cook down? Do I add water? Low heat, right? And I have sage and garlic, onion and rosemary, salt, pepper. What else?
Shauna: Hahahha call me… Peeling them involves boiling water…btw
Shauna: Oregeno, basil…. No sage
Amy: Crap. I’m calling you.
Seriously? Good cooks drive me crazy. Just a little bit. I mean, really? Come on, now. Us normal folk require some step-by-step. I did call her, and right away. Because I needed to do something with those beauties, and quick, before they rotted right there on my counter. After a little digging, I figured out how to peel the dang tomatoes, cook them and season them into a beautiful, delicious and rustic marinara sauce. And while I couldn’t get any exact measurements out of my dear sister, I did figure it out on my own so I could share it with you. Here’s what I came up with – and truly, it was really tasty!
proud moment: everything except the garlic is homegrown, between mine and my family’s garden!
What you’ll need: Total Time: approximately 3 hours from start to finish
**Recipe makes about 3 regular sized spaghetti jars worth of pasta sauce**
1.) 2 TBSP chopped oregano
2.) 3 TBSP Basil
3.) small bunch of thyme
4.) 2-4 TBSP chopped parsley
5.) 1 C chopped red onion
6.) 10 small garlic cloves, chopped (about 3 TBSP)
16-20 tomatoes (ours varied in size, but were mostly on the verge of large)
1-2 TBSP sea salt
1 tsp fennel, crushed
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
What you’ll do:
First, boil a big pot of water. While that is going, make up a batch of ice water in another big pot, set aside. When the water comes to a rolling boil, submerge tomatoes slowly in batches, about 5 at a time. Watch them and see the skin start to crack and separate from the tomatoes, which takes 1-2 minutes. When this happens, carefully scoop out the tomatoes with the slotted spoon and set them into the ice bath. Work the next batch in boiling water while the first batch cools in the ice bath. Continue doing this until all of the tomatoes have been boiled. **Note: the tomatoes are MUCH easier to peel when they are completely cooled.** Once the tomatoes cool, peel the skins off of them and discard. The skins should slide right off. Drain the pot used for boiling water. Cut the stems out of the tomatoes and half or quarter them (depending on size), then place back into the drained pot. Put the pot over low heat, and cover. Let the tomatoes cook down, squishing and chopping them with the slotted spoon as they cook. After an hour, there should be a nice sauce going. Add the spices and herbs and stir occasionally. Cook another hour to an hour and a half, tasting occasionally to test for doneness. **Note: If needed, add sugar to tame the acidity (I didn’t need this for our sauce, but some tomatoes are not as sweet as our Early Girl variety).**
I don’t eat spaghetti very often. Not only because of the carb overload, but because it’s just not the same without milk. Now I know this sounds crazy to a lot of people, but spaghetti and an ice-cold glass of milk was my absolute favorite growing up and now that milk doesn’t agree with me, I just can’t bring myself to eat spaghetti and marinara without it. So I got me some Lactaid and was all sorts of giddy thinking about the fantastic meal I’d prepared. Heck, I even cooked up some Italian Sausage for Joe! We added shaved parmesan and homemade garlic cheesy bread and it was out of this world. I swear. I know it was, because I wanted to die afterward with my belly so full I couldn’t even stand it! (No, really. I sat on the couch and moaned until Joe wouldn’t put up with it anymore). I hope you try this – it’s really not that hard, and it’s incredibly flavorful! Just a note, though: our tomatoes were super juicy and I only cooked it for a couple hours, so the sauce wasn’t very thick. If you have the same “problem,” and require a thicker marinara, here are some solutions:
1.) Remove the lid from the pot and cook longer, letting the liquid reduce as it boils
2.) Add ground meat, sausage or vegetables until the desired consistency is reached
3.) Add cornstarch (could affect the flavor though)
4.) Cook your (dried) pasta in the sauce so it absorbs some of the liquid
I hope this helps you create your own AMAZING pasta sauce! Tomatoes are in season now, so no worries if yours are from your garden, the farmer’s market or the grocery store. Just make it up quick while the season lasts!