As promised, here’s my “made up” recipe for marinara sauce. I took what I liked about the other homemade sauces I’ve tried…and combined them. The wine can be omitted, but know that the type of wine you use (and if it isn’t there) adds a lot to the flavor. This makes enough for 3 large servings if you don’t drown your pasta in sauce. Or, alternately, enough for one box of pasta of the penne variety.
Add approx. 2 Tb of olive oil to a large saucepan over medium low heat. Empty 2 cans of low or no salt diced tomatoes (or the proportionate amount of fresh diced) into the pan. Normally, I drain one can and include the juice from the other. I tend to like a chunkier sauce so hence the draining. Thinly slice 2 large shallots and stir in. Smash one clove of garlic and toss it in. Run another clove of garlic through a garlic press and add that. Stir in 1 Tb of garlic salt if you like it super garlicky like we do. Add approx 2 tsp dried rosemary and 2 tsp dried oregano, or the approx amount of Italian seasoning.
Then grab a full bodied red wine and stir in 3/4 cup. Yep – 3/4 a cup. Or more, if you really like red wine. My favorite to use is “Pantheon” from Terra Blanca, but my brother informs me it is now sold out. So he suggests finding a red wine blend that is very full bodied to sub. (Pantheon is 81% Nebbiolo, 17% Cab Sauvignon, and 2% Dolcetto if you’d like to try and find something comparable – good luck) Bring this mix to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing the larger bits of tomato.
After the 15 minutes of simmering, add a dash of Mrs. Dash original (hah!) and 3 Tb of butter. Allow to simmer 15 minutes more, or until it reaches the consistency you desire. If it becomes too dry, try squishing some more of the tomatoes.
At this point, I try to have my pasta all cooked – then I drain it and simply add it to the pan with the sauce, stirring to coat. I serve it with freshly grated Parmesan and those delicious small loaves of french bread you can pick up at Albertsons’ for 99 cents.
This is by FAR not as sweet a sauce as one you get from a jar, considering the only sugar in it comes from the tomatoes and the wine. And much of the time, I add a lot of spices as I enjoy a lot of herb-y flavors on my pasta. I also tend to use whole wheat pasta, which makes the whole meal feel much denser. I have tried adding meat, but the savory balance is thrown off a bit if you try to add meatballs or ground beef to the mixture. I am very tempted to try it with mushrooms or over chicken parmigiana. Feel free to add or subtract as you see fit. Enjoy!