Sunday, December 12, 2010

Easy Sunday Night Marinara Sauce

The holidays are nearly upon us again and things are beginning to get hectic. It's been tough to find the time to cook, much less write about it afterwards! Today, I am baking more holiday cookies and snacks to be given as gifts. I'm starting the day with Orange Spice Oatmeal Cookies (see last week's post) and am following that with Ginger Snaps (see A Perfect Day for Gingersnaps) and Candied Pecans (see Thursday's Spread - The Aftermath). As it turns out, we have some friends that will be dropping by this evening and I'll be adding dinner to that list. What to do?

With all the mess I had going in the kitchen I wanted something I could put together easily and quickly, preferably something I could cook on the stove since the oven would be in use. I figured a marinara sauce would be best and easiest.

For this recipe, I am not getting all fancy with fresh tomatoes or anything, I'm pretty much sticking to the pantry staples. I sometimes add olives and/or bell peppers to this recipe but today I'm keeping it to what I have on hand.

Start by taking a large pot and sautéing:
1/4 c olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
When onion begins to sweat, add:
1-1/2 c sliced crimini mushrooms
Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add:
4 cloves garlic, minced
Stir together for about 1 minute and add:
2 c water
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
Stir well until tomato paste is well incorporated. Add in:
2 bay leaves
1 T sugar
2 t salt
2 t oregano leaves (2 T if fresh)
1 t basil (1 T if fresh)
1 t thyme (1 T if fresh)
1 t parsley (1 T if fresh)
1 t fresh ground black pepper
Bring sauce to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook for at least one hour. If you choose to take the sauce away from Marinara and toward a Bolognese, you can add meat at this point. At about the time you're going to start the water for the pasta, add in:
1/2 c dry red wine
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese (if needed to thicken)
Continue to simmer until pasta is done. Serve with Parmesan and garlic bread.

Sunday night dinner made easy. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a plate of spaghetti to eat!


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