Monday, March 14, 2011

Kickass Marinara Sauce

I am sorry if my title offends you. I do not mean to offend; rather, I intend to get the point across that this marinara sauce is really awesome. It gets the Ray-Ray seal of approval with two thumbs up (wow, I haven't said that in ages!). How can you go wrong with a marinara sauce made from scratch? Really?!

Just add fire
Okay, you will have to forgive me if this post goes astray- I have had a glass of wine. But this wine is so good I just have to say something about it. It's called Brimstone and I picked it up at the Phelps Creek Vineyards tasting room in Hood River, Oregon. I've been there several times before and I love it. The Brimstone is frikkin awesome. It's a red wine. I highly recommend it.

Now, let me give you a little background on why I decided to make this marinara sauce. Ever since the second week of living alone in this apartment, I have not had much of a taste for dinner on my own. I've had lots of eggs on toast, some salad, some crappy soup, and God knows what else. It's been really pathetic. I just don't know how to feed myself a good home-cooked meal. Which is silly, because I know how to cook for a group of people.

So I got to thinking about what freezes well, and I remembered that I made this sauce for my family in the past and it made so much that we froze half of it. When reheated, it tastes pretty darn good. I've had it atop penne and farfalle. What I really want to try it with is gnocchi, my soul mate. Gah,  I love gnocchi. I feel an ode coming on...

Veggies in the pot
Ode to Gnocchi
Oh, dearest gnocchi
thy soft pillows
of potatoey fluffiness
which turn to mush on my tongue
when mixed with marinara
and fresh mozzarella
I feel I can speak italiano
senza problema
con passione
and I am transportato a Roma
il y a plusiers ans
quand j'etais un peu plus jeune
et naive
e la vita etais bella
and I was con amice
oh gnocchi
I will eat you encore une fois
et je sourirai

I know that that poem was in English, French and Italian. That's what happens when you speak 2 1/4 languages. When passion overtakes you, language does not matter. The words must break to the surface.

Chopped onions
Anyway, when I have marinara, I think of gnocchi, and gnocchi makes me think of Rome. And then I am reminded of that time when my friend Danielle and I ate at the only restaurant in Rome that did not include the gratuity in the bill. We had had a lovely dinner, and I of course had gnocchi. I tried to get tiramisu for dessert, but they had no more (?!). The restaurant also could not break a 20 Euro bill. Our waiter thought that we were trying to stiff him , but we explained that we had good service, but needed change. Some other tourists were able to give us two tens, but we needed to break one of the tens. Danielle convinced me to try to get the ten broken inside (we dined outside, al fresco), so first I feigned using the restroom to scope out the scene. I approached the desk tentatively and asked if the girl could break my ten. She explained that it would be very difficult and she went through her desk, then asked every other person working there if they had any change, she made me hold out one hand with the ten, and the other for some change and a five. The big scary Italian guy came and made a big deal about giving some change, and I was afraid the mafia was going to come after me. It's a little scary to be surrounded by a bunch of Italians yelling about money and only understanding the basics. Needless to say, once I got my change, I darted out of the restaurant, threw the tip on the table and told Danielle that we had to get out of there pronto. And then we ran to the metro, which was closed. Luckily, I knew from my previous trip to Rome where a taxi station was, so we booked it and hired a taxi. And then when we were dropped off at the train station, we saw two young boys rifling through a wallet they had just stolen. And yet I love Rome. Con passione.

Okay, without further ado, here is the marinara recipe.

Marinara Sauce
from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentis

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sm onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
64 oz canned crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. You can transfer the cooled sauce to freezer bags and freeze until you want to use it.

Note: I do not recommend drinking wine before or during the chopping of vegetables. While I did not lose any appendages, I did manage to peel my finger instead of a carrot. There may or may not be blood in the sauce. Good thing this stuff is just for me. I did, however, have a creepy coworker tell me that maybe my blood is what makes my stuff taste so good. He does not work with me any more.

1 comment:

  1. Love the note on not drinking before chopping...certainly have tried that before :)