How to Make Marinara Sauce

There's nothing like a plate of al dente pasta smothered in a fresh marinara sauce, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and accompanied by a green salad and piece of garlic toast. A good marinara sauce is easy to create and even easier to enjoy. This recipe for marina sauce will guide you how to make marinara sauce at home and enjoy the pleasure of one of America's favorite meals.

Fresh Homemade Marinara Sauce
The smell of a pot of homemade marinara sauce bubbling on the stove is heavenly enough to make your stomach rumble with anticipation. Though time-consuming, this culinary endeavor will be a source of pride and joy.

Ingredients You Will Need:
Plum tomatoes
Olive oil
Fresh basil
Fresh garlic
Green pepper
Bay leaf

How to Make Marinara Sauce from Scratch
Wash the plum tomatoes, remove the stems and score the tomatoes both on the tops and bottoms of each tomato. Cut out the base of the stem if you desire.

Boil a pot of water on the stove and place a pot of ice cold water beside it. Using a long-handled fork, blanch each tomato by plunging it first into the pot of boiling water for 45 to 60 seconds and then dipping it in the cold water. After the tomatoes cool, peel the skins off and place the tomatoes in the blender or food processor.

Puree the tomatoes in the blender or processor. 

Dice the onions and chop the green pepper. Sauté both in olive oil in the bottom of the saucepan until slightly browned. Mince the garlic and add to the onions and peppers. Add the tomato puree, chopped fresh basil, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the marinara sauce for at least eight hours, covering the pan but allowing some steam to escape. If the sauce seems too thick, add olive oil.  If the sauce seems too thin, add cornstarch mixed with water until you reach the right consistency.

The amount of seasoning used will depend on your taste. Experiment with different amounts of each of the spices and ingredients mentioned until you find the right proportions for your taste.

Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce
If you don't want to deal with the fresh tomatoes but you want to make your own marinara sauce, you can use tomato paste (with water) or tomato puree in a can to make an easy marinara sauce. Combine tomato puree with chopped onions, minced garlic, fresh basil, olive oil and salt in a sauce pan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Variations on Basic Marinara Sauce
You can add extra ingredients to either of the two sauces listed above and create fun, zesty sauces that will wake up any bowl of pasta. Try adding colorful peppers or sliced olives, chunks of onions or sliced mushrooms. Add crushed red pepper for more spice. Try adding Worcestershire sauce for added richness of taste. For a sweeter sauce, consider adding sugar, cinnamon or even shaved dark chocolate. Cook up some Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot, depending on your taste), ground hamburger or ground turkey and add these to the sauce for a delicious meat sauce. Vegans may wish to add chickpeas or legumes for vegan protein.

Ways to Serve Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of ways. You can serve this sauce on any kind of pasta. It is delightful when topped with Parmesan or Romano cheese or is baked with rigatoni or ziti with shredded mozzarella cheese in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. Try it on fried chicken, veal or eggplant or use it as a dipping sauce for slices of French bread. Marinara sauce is a great base for lasagna or can be substituted for pizza sauce on homemade pizza.

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