3 February 2007

Homemade Marinara Sauce

(Valentine dinner tip inside!)

Sorry dearies...those weren't gulab jamuns. For those who thought they were tomatoes, you were right. Tomato soup and sauce...close, but no one thought Italian! Marinara sauce it is. Not Prego or Ragu, but homemade wholesome goodness. It is so simple to make that it is almost criminal to buy those 'imported' bottles from Indian supermarkets or from one of the dollar stores that have mushroomed all over the city.

Tomatoes are abundant these days and basil grows in a pot on my window sill. For some more basil, the neighbouring market sells them cheap at 5 Rs for a small bunch. My kitchen never goes without garlic. So what else is there to a good jar of marinara sauce? Nothing actually.

I used to love the show Everyday Italian. Giada's simple style and usage of a variety of vegetables kept me hooked to her show. I modified her recipe to suit the availability of ingredients here. 1 kg of tomatoes yielded two jars of sauce. Kept refrigerated, it is now a breeze to dish out my hubby's favourite dinner of spaghetti in tomato sauce.


ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
8-10 cloves of garlic finely milled
1 kg ripe tomatoes ~ 2 Lbs
2 bunches of fresh basil ~1/3 cup finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil (optional)
1 tbsp chilli flakes or cayenne pepper powder
1 tbsp sea salt

jars
2 sterilised glass bottles (I kept the open bottles in a pressure cooker with some water. Switch off the gas after one whistle. When cool, remove and dry)

directions
In a large pot, bring 2-3 L of water to boil. Place the washed tomatoes with cross slits in the water. Bring to a boil. After 5 minutes, switch off the gas. Remove tomatoes from water and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel of the tomatoes and quarter them.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the chopped garlic for a few seconds. Do not brown. Put the chilli flakes / powder in the oil and immediately put in the quartered tomatoes. Season with salt and dried basil. Stir around the contents of the pan until the moisture has evaporated. This will take around 10-15 minutes.



further directions
Spoon the contents into the clean jars and seal. Refrigerate until use. This should keep atleast for a month in the fridge. You could even freeze it as cubes in the ice tray and store the cubes in a ziploc bag for easy use and longer life of the sauce.

Valentine's dinner tip
You can prepare this sauce a day or two in advance for your Valentine's dinner and a simple penne pasta rolled in pre-prepared marinara sauce with a few shavings of a good Parmesan cheese will make an easy yet wonderful main course. For starters, sides and desserts, stay tuned...for the Valentine mood is on, on Saffron Trail!

For the girls who have access to diced, chopped, pureed, crushed or whole canned tomatoes, go ahead and use them. Save your time for better things!
Like dessert, I mean...duh!!


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18 comments:

Anita said...

Okay, so it was Marinara Sauce...you wanted us to be specific? :)

You have got yours and our heart a; a flutter - with this simple and delicious sauce. It could as easily be the sauce on a pizza too - that's what I cd make for my Valentine since he doesn't like pasta!

and what's for dessert you said?
(And what's with Blogger giving us these half windows that I can't even see what I am writing?)

skeeedamnbee said...

i can vouch for its authenticity and flavour, having polished half a bottle already... it goes very well with my favorite - plain spaghetti

nandita's ever hungry husband...
sumanth

Nandita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nandita said...

Anita- dessert coming up soon - something simple and yet very very 'valentiny'. You didn't miss anything as the dessert is still on my mind, not made yet or posted yet!

S - Thanks hubby dear! The inspiration and driving force behind my love for cooking is finally here with a comment and ironically on something he loves the most. :)Now, is that a coincidence?

Maheswari said...

Nandita...homemade marinara..wow..loved it..As u said, might try it with canned tomamtoes.I too love giada's show,especially her desserts.BTW..i saw your comment on Sandeepa's blog about 3-column template.Check out this site,

http://hackosphere.blogspot.com/3006/09/3-column-templates-for-blogger-beta_01.html

Hope this helps, i used this template only.

Nandita said...

Hey Maheshwari,
Thanks a ton for that link...lemme try putting it into my template tonight. Shall keep you posted.

Mahek said...

hi
nandita
thanks a lot for the marinara sauce recipe
my son loves pasta and pasta sauces and i always thought that all the sauces had onions in it as i make my own version with onions and capsicum too.
thanks for the sterilisation tip - dont they crack do we have to dip them in water i.e water outside and inside.
bye
mahek

Pamela said...

I love the new look!

Great recipe, your pictures are truly mouthwatering!!

Nandita said...

Maheshwari- I did it and hackosphere is a wonderful resource, gets into the well deserved credits section of my blog. Also used their peekaboo posts (expandable posts). Thanks a ton for pointing it out to me.

Mahek - You can fill 2-3 cups of water in a big sized cooker, keep the bottles standing with mouths up/ lying on their sides - please dont keep lids on. The steam in the cooker will sterilize the insides of the bottle and no, they do not crack.

Thanks Pamela, been working on beta blogger designs for a while, found some useful resources and applied them!

RP said...

Wow! I am a fan of homemade tomato sauces! When I had tomatoes, I did this too, but without basil. Would love to make some more....but no tomatoes now. I used giada's recipe from foodnetwork. Will try yours next time with chilli pepper flakes.

gilly said...

What a co-incidence, Nandita! I actually made a recipe of Giada's for Marinara Sauce over the weekend too! Only my recipe was from her book 'Everyday Italian'! Great minds think alike!

Nandita said...

Giada's recipe seems like quite a hit! I remember she used tons of olive oil and Im sure it tasted great.

Gilly yeah - we're starting a small mutual admiration society here...hahahaha

bee said...

thanks for the sterilisation tip. we grow tons of tomatoes each summer. i could use that info.

bee

Sandeepa said...

Hi Nandita
You did get a 3 col beautiful design even with a new template. I am still using the classic template and am afraid to change
Looks really very good
And need I say the sauce looks beautiful too. I loved the last pic with the jars a lot

Monisha said...

It's it amazing what a handful of ingredients and some effort can turn into! Homemade marinara sauce is such a staple, great recipe!

Luv2cook said...

wow...5 rs for a bunch of basil..what could beat that?..jealous...

Anonymous said...

hi nandita
i have been enjoying your blog, finally got around to commenting! thanks for info on nigella lawsons show - got to watch it today. i am hooked on to 'discovery travel and living' and kylie kwong etc., too. as also to some lovely food blogs - yours included.
meant to ask about the bottles cracking - but someone already has. they really don't crack? i must try it.
more later
d

Uma said...

Hey Nandita... have been browsing through your blogs for the past few weeks... great job... i tried making your red soup, and it came out really well... thanks!

one question though... i notice u use a lot of basil/dried basil in your cooking... is that the same as tulsi leaves? i stay in hyderabad and have not noticed the thai basil variety in the markets, so was wondering.... would be great if you could let me know.. Thanks!