I have been on a Marinara Sauce kick these past couple of weeks. I call it a kick because I’m still a bit shocked that we are becoming quite the homesteaders. Well no we didn’t grow these tomatoes, but we did roast them, turn them into sauce and freeze them for the winter. That’s a long way from opening up a jar of our favorite sauce.
After making about 10 batches of Marinara Sauce I felt confident enough to share our recipe. We begin with about 4 pounds of ‘ugly’ tomatoes. The sign at the Farmers Market said ‘soup tomatoes’ indicating the random black spots weren’t presentation quality. These tomatoes may not be the prettiest, but this 20+ pound basket only cost $10. We’ll get 4 batches of sauce out of them, which is much less expensive than what we’d been spending on our favorite Rao’s Sauce. I bought two huge baskets last week and B got busy turning these tomatoes into sauce.
Break out your biggest roasting pan. Rough chop an onion, throw in a few garlic cloves, then load it up with chunks of tomatoes (cores and black spots removed). Drizzle it with a little olive oil and into the oven they go.
Recipe note: If your tomatoes have lots of seeds, you can give them a squeeze to remove most. Don’t worry about the skins, we’re going into the blender at the end and it will take care of those.
Roast the tomatoes at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the onion and tomatoes just begin to brown on the edges. Use a slotted spoon and transfer to your blender container, discard any pan juices. Blend until mostly smooth.
Meanwhile in a large saucepan, cook your bacon in the olive oil. That’s right, sounds like overkill but that bacon influence brings an unmistakable richness to the sauce. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove it from the olive oil and have yourself a snack.
Pour the sauce from the blender into the olive oil, add the oregano and bring to a simmer. You can finish this sauce in as little as 30 minutes or you can let it simmer all afternoon. The longer you simmer, the more concentrated the sauce becomes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe note: the recipe listed below is the basic concept for really good Marinara Sauce. We have experimented with shallot in place of onion, garlic powder in place of fresh garlic, basil in place of oregano. All have been wonderful.
Once cooled transfer Marinara Sauce to a quart-sized zip top bag and freeze flat. As long as there continues to be tomatoes at the Farmers Market, I’ll continue to bring home baskets full. About that homesteader thing….last night I made loaves of homemade white bread from scratch. Yes, my kneading skills need a little practice, but it looked and tasted like bread. Can’t believe I waited this long.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 strips bacon
- 4 -5 lbs. tomatoes cored & rough chopped
- 1 sweet onion rough chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- pinch red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle a large roasting pan with olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tomatoes begin to brown on edges.
- Use a slotted spoon and transfer to your blender container, discard any pan juices. Blend until smooth.
- Meanwhile in a large saucepan, cook your bacon in the olive oil. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove it from the olive oil and reserve for another use.
- Pour the sauce from the blender into the olive oil, add the oregano and red pepper flakes; bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 4 cups.