Monday, August 3, 2009

Make Your Own Marinara...plus what to do with it

Help! I'm falling victim to the annual attack of the killer tomatoes. And more are coming by the minute. There's only one way out of this overabundanance that I've created: namely, elbow grease. Roll up your sleeves and let's make some marinara. And this is the real stuff, kiddos, like you get in Italy. The ingredients are very simple to let the taste of the summer tomatoes shine through.
First of all, you'll need to peel the tomatoes, a simple but slightly messy procedure. Slice a small X into the bottom of your tomatoes.Drop them in boiling water for about thirty seconds. When cool enough to handle peel back the skin. Easy enough.
For marinara, I'll use any variety of tomatoes. Obviously, some less juicy tomatoes are better for cooking, but don't let that stop you. After you peel the tomatoes, if they are extremely seedy and juicy, just squeeze them over the sink to get out as much of the juice as you can.

Simple Marinara
(makes about 2 quarts)
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
6 lbs. peeled tomato, about 20 tomatoes
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2-5 oregano leaves
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
about 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
6 ounce can tomato paste, optional
Heat oil in large heavy pot. Add onion and saute for about five minutes, until softened. Add garlic and saute for thirty secons. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano. Mash down tomatoes with potato masher. Simmer for about one hour, or until tomatoes are broken down and not too juicy. (If needed, cook longer to get rid of more juices.) I use my immersion blender at this point to make a smooth sauce. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the sauce in batches to a blender. (If the sauce is not thick enough at this point, add in some or all of the tomato paste.) Taste and adjust the sauce for sweetness and add the brown sugar, salt and pepper. At this point you can process your sauce for canning OR freeze it in heavy duty zip top bags.
Now cook up some pasta and some sausage and you've got a nice dinner.
In a couple of nights you can make some garden vegetable soup. Click here for my recipe. (Use 1 and 1/2 cup marinara instead of the canned diced tomatoes.)
Or, if you've had another attack from your garden, you can make Summer Squash Parmigiano, which I absolutely adore. (You can use chicken cutlets instead of squash, but where's the fun is that?)
Dredge sliced squash in flour.
Dip in egg thinned with a little water.
Roll in breadcrumbs mixed with a little parmesan and dried basil. (If you can let it sit for about 30 minutes; the crumbs will adhere better. Even still, I almost never wait. Too busy.)
Lightly fry in some olive oil.
Place in a 9 by 13 dish with some of your yummy marinara.
Cover with basil, parmesan, mozzarella, and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and utterly irresistible. Oh, yummy. Now get to work.
Be back tomorrow with Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

16 comments:

gigi said...

I've never tried squash that way. I think I would love this! Thanks and have a blessed week.

Janssen said...

Amusingly, I read the title as "marijuana" instead of "marinara." I was like . . ."REALLY?!?!?!" Glad it was just my eyes playing tricks.

The Japanese Redneck said...

Both of those look wonderful. I'll have to give that squash a try.

I freeze tomotoes whole in gallon freezer bags. Then when I need them, I take a few out, dip them in hot water, slip off the peel and dice them up in soups, sauces, etc.

Ramona

MK and Co. said...

Too sweet? Too sour? All those tomatoes remind me of the scene in the classic Meet Me in St. Louis where they are bottling all their tomato products in the middle of hot summer. Now all you need is a sister to dance around the piano with in your feminine petticoats and sing about the fair! These recipes look great! I don't think I have seen squash looks so tantalizing and delicious. Thanks again Prudy dear.

Lisa said...

Love squash that way. It is always great to have a couple of batches of sauce in the freezer.

Dakotapam said...

Yummy! Of course, here in North Dakota, all of our tomatoes are still green! I grew yellow ones this year, good for slicing, but would make a goffy looking marinara...time to go to the farmer's market I guess! Thanks!

Country Cookin' Mama said...

Love the idea with the summer squash! My husband was wanting me to make something like it with our zucchini and yellow squash. I'll have to try it out!

Catherine said...

That marinara looks delicious. And I was just thinking the other day that I never make marinara, only tomato basil. So I'm happy to have a good marinara recipe. And your squash and soup both look so yummy!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the recipe for the Marinara! I will be having a ton of tomatos here soon and need to use them up!

wileyfamilyof5 said...

I think I am going to try the squash. I have a hint for the marinara, instead of pepper flakes ask you butcher for some hot italian sausage spice. Fabuleous!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Great tip about the peels!

:)

Thanks for sharing. Come by and visit my blog.

Michal said...

oooh. i can't wait to try the squash ala parmesan. why didn't i think of that? we have said squash coming out of our ears this year. the tomatoes are not producing as much as i would like, though. sigh. maybe next year.

i just read mk's comment and giggled because i was thinking about the very same ketchup scene from meet me in st. louis. but i'd rather eat marinara than ketchup any day.

Kerstin said...

I love your idea to make a summer squash parm, it looks amazing!

Aggie said...

aaahhh...total comfort food.

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Twinmomwv said...

I just got this link and it looks YUMMY! I also happen to have 20 pounds of tomatoes in my kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration!