I sort of follow recipes and yet not at all. I just cannot add certain ingredients that cause concern for me. Why that? Why not this? But, I must admit, I enjoy more of a savory taste than a sweet taste. Gimme some spice in that dish! I can turn down chocolate any day but not a good, hot salsa. I know, crazy.
So, I have been making a marinara sauce for years based on a recipe that I do not quite follow. You see, I love my sauce to be thick and savory. Not a wimpy wet liquid that won’t stick to noodles or gnocchi or spaghetti squash for that matter. My sauce must have gusto and a zing to it….Therefore, folks, you are my lucky friends that will enjoy this easy peasy recipe. Read on!
The peeling the tomatoes part is a hassle as well as the de-seeding part, but it is worth it. The skins can be too tough later and the seeds may add bitterness to your sauce. I don’t take that chance. Besides, seeds can be difficult for those with colon sensitivities so why mess with that. Core, score, blanch and peel those tomatoes, then cut in half and finger out the seeds. Mind you, you don’t have to go batshit crazy and get all of the seeds, just most of them. No one is perfect, right?
It helps on this recipe if you have a real Cuisinart. I have all three sizes: large, medium and small. Large for big batch sauces or soups, medium for garnish sauces, and small for chopping. I even have an extra coffee grinder for chopping herbs. Shoot, what did I just say about batshit crazy? Hah!
PS: you must use quality dried herbs, no substitutions. Get the organic selection at your local store and re-stock every two years. You will never be disappointed. If your dried herbs are so old you don’t remember when you purchased them, toss them! Not even worth cooking with.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped sweet yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (this is the secret ingredient!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 pounds of fresh roma type tomatoes, cored & bottoms scored
NOTE: if using canned tomatoes off season, use three (3) 28oz cans of crushed organic tomatoes
Core and score the bottom of your tomatoes. Blanch in hot water until the skin lifts – no more than 1 minute – and place in cold water, then peel right away. Cut in half and de-seed as much as you can. Set aside in large bowl. Heat oil in large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add onion to pot and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add next 7 ingredients (to fennel seeds) and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar, cook less than one minute. Add your tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat on a simmer setting for one (1) hour or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Pulse through a food processor to turn into the sauce consistency you desire. Makes 12 cups or 6 pint jars that you will be able to water-bath can. Follow canning recipe for tomato sauce.