As our days grow shorter and cooler, a steaming bowl of pasta tossed with a quick and easy marinara sauce hits the proverbial spot. These days you can get some really high quality canned tomatoes that will turn out a superb marinara in less that one hour. All you need is a few basic ingredients. I guarantee you that this quick and easy marinara sauce will be a GAZILLION times better than even a high end jar brand. Trust me the taste is so fresh, that you will NEVER want to buy jar sauce again! Ever!
By the way, did you ever wonder where the name marinara comes from? Well, it’s Italian of course. It literally means “of the sailor”. Legend has it that it was born in Italy, Naples to be precise. It is said that when fishermen returned from their journeys at sea, their wives would cook up a marinara sauce to accompany their catch.
Now, most recipes I have seen for marinara sauce use sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. Please DON’T do this! Use a touch of red balsamic vinegar instead. Why? simple, You will achieve the desired hint of sweetness and also gain an added depth of flavor. An Italian chef I once knew gave me this little secret!
My quick and easy marinara sauce is super versatile. It goes well with most types of pasta, chicken Parmesan, or even as pizza sauce. It’s also great with a seafood pasta, shrimp is my favorite.To give this marinara a bit of heat, add a dash of red pepper flakes during the cooking process, if you wish. A spicy marinara is referred to as an Arrabiata sauce. Yes, a different post will be forthcoming.
And now for the history lesson: The tomato is believed to be indigenous to the Americas. The Spanish explorers transported it to Europe. In Europe it soon became known as “poison apple”. The reason? Well… aristocrats who were eating tomatoes ate out of pewter plates. The reaction between the pewter which, has a high lead content, and the acid in tomatoes was needless to say, bad chemistry! Unfortunately no one made this connection until much later, and this is why the tomato had a bad rap in Europe for a couple of centuries.
Tomatoes are a great source of nutrients and anti oxidants. Studies have confirmed that diets that include tomatoes are helpful in reducing the risk of certain cancers. Also, studies from Ohio State University have concluded that when tomatoes are consumed with healthy fats such as avocados or olive oil, the body’s ability to absorb the cancer fighting nutrients in tomatoes increases dramatically.
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 8-10 basil leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. red balsamic vinegar
- dash of nutmeg
- In a medium saucepan heat olive oil. Add onions, garlic, salt and saute until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
- Add basil and bay leaves. Stir well and allow sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add red balsamic. Add nutmeg.
- Allow to rest for about 20 minutes covered. Remove basil and bay leaves.
- Serve immediately over pasta. This marinara will keep in the fridge for about 2 days.