Now that fall is here bringing chilly fall nights, it's time for comfort foods like soups, chilis, and marinara-covered pasta bakes. Here's a recipe from my sister-in-law for Everyday Marinara Sauce. It yields 6 cups and can be prepared in a little over an hour, refrigerated for 5 days, and frozen for up to 2 months, making it quick and easy to throw together a meal when you're in a hurry. Simply pour over cooked noodles and grilled chicken breast, add a salad and voila! Simple and delicious, and the sauce is only 70 calories per 1 cup serving.
12 medium tomatoes (Roma tomatoes recommended, but any variety would do), or 5 cups jarred diced or strained plum tomatoes (no salt or sugar added)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium white onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh oregano without stems (about 2 tbsp leaves), or 1 tsp dried oregano
8 basil leaves, or 1 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp red chile flakes, optional
1 tbsp raw honey
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil over hight heat. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Immerse tomatoes into boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until skins begin to come off. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and immerse into ice bath for about 1 minute or until cooled.
Once cooled, remove tomatoes from ice bath and remove skin, which will peel off easily. Slice tomatoes in half, scoop away core and seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes and place into a bowl.
In a medium saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and saute until onion becomes translucent and vegetabkes are softened. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, and chile flakes, if desired, and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 min - 1 hr, stirring occasionally.
Remove saucepot from heat and carefully puree mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. Add honey and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Ladle mixture into resealable containers, let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. Use within 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.