Fresh Tomato Marinara
I felt it only appropriate to wrap up the last week of summer keeping with the “What I Grew in My Garden” theme. My tomatoes plants definitely fared better than my zucchini plant, but due to planting everything late, our tomatoes just started to ripen a few weeks ago.
Last week I finally came to the conclusion, that I needed to do something with them besides let them look pretty in a bowl on my counter. After that zucchini post, I was really craving some zucchini pasta noodles, so I decided to whip up a fresh tomato marinara sauce on the fly.
For this recipe, I literally just used what I had lying around on my counter (fresh tomatoes & a half drank bottle of red wine), what I found in my fridge (garlic is a must), and what I found in my pantry (hello random bag of onions).
When I typically make a marinara sauce on the fly, I usually always use canned san marzano tomatoes. But I knew I could do better!
You want to think about this sauce in layers (Shrek & Donkey reference anyone?). Allow things to cook low and slow in a dutch oven or heavy walled pot, and add one new flavor/ingredient at a time. That’s the trick for allowing the flavors to develop and meld into something completely different than it started.
And you might know how 90% of all jarred tomato sauces contain added sugar? Well that is 100% unnecessary here. I realized the sauce needed a little sweetness to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, and that’s what the mini bell peppers are for. They give the perfect amount of natural sweetness to the final sauce, with no refined sugar necessary.
I will tell you, while this sauce doesn’t make a ton of volume, is it for sure concentrated in flavor. Not exactly a “sauce” per se, but more of a concentrated marinara past. Use less than you think you need to coat your desired food choice, add a little water to slightly thin, and dig in!
Fresh Tomato Marinara
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 lbs. fresh roma or san marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 bottle red wine
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 mini bell peppers, diced
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- In the bottom of a dutch oven, heat onions and olive oil on low to medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the onions edges are slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Once browned, add garlic and cook on low until garlic is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Next add about 1 cup of the red wine to deglaze the pan. Simmer wine on low until the liquid is reduced by half (about 3-5 minutes). Add the remainder of the wine and simmer on low until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add the tomato paste and diced bell peppers into the wine mixture and reduce until the majority of the liquid has evaporated.
- While the wine is reducing, bring a medium pot of water to a boil on high heat. Score each tomato in an "X" on the pointed side of the fruit.
- Once the water is boiling, blanch about 4-5 tomatoes in water for 30-60 seconds, or until the skin starts visibly peeling away from the tomato flesh. Once that has happened, immediately remove tomatoes and submerge into an ice water bath. Repeat this step until all tomatoes have been blanched.
- Peel away skins from the tomato and cut tomatoes into lengthwise quarters. Seed tomatoes and roughly chop. Add the roughly chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture and cover. Simmer mixture for at least one hour (or more), stirring occasionally.
- Yield: 3 cups of thick marinara sauce. This recipe results in a very concentrated tomato sauce. Sauce can be slightly thinned with water if desired.