Friday, March 19, 2010

Five Minute Marinara Sauce

Now I know what you're thinking ... "Diva, you only just got back in town and already you're looking for a five minute meal?!" Yep, that's just how I roll. And, honestly, this recipe can be many things to many people - its more than just a quickie.

If you're looking for a true quick-fix, this is your go-to sauce. If you've got more than 5 minutes but less than 30, simmer it for 15 and call it dinner. If you want a richer, more slowly cooked sauce, again, this is your baby ... simply put a lid on it, turn the heat as low as it will go and let it do its thing until you're ready to eat.

The key to this sauce is the tomatoes. Use the very best canned tomatoes you can find. I prefer San Marzano, but if they're not available in your area, use your favorite brand. San Marzano tomatoes are so flavorful that they require very little in the way of cooking to turn out a good sauce.

Roughly translated, marinara sauce means "sauce of the sailors." Legend has it that marinara sauce is the meal that was made to welcome sailors home from the sea when they returned to Naples. I can well believe it too, I always crave Italian food upon returning from a trip. It was outstanding!

Diva's Five Minute Marinara Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large (or 4 small) cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 28 ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (with or without Basil)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons good quality red wine
  • handful of good quality grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • some fresh basil or thyme (or both, your choice)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat and to it add the butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the garlic, minced onion, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of Kosher salt. Stir and saute for one minute. Add the can of whole tomatoes and stir well, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. (Alternately, you may use a kitchen scissors to cut the tomatoes into pieces, which works really well.)

2. Add the tomato paste, the red wine, a small handful of grated Parmesan cheese (to taste), some chopped fresh parsley (to taste) and stir well to combine. Allow the sauce to come to the boil and reduce heat to low. Add the leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, if using, and stir. Allow the sauce to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding some salt and pepper if you wish. Just before serving, add some chopped or shredded fresh basil.

3. Option Two: After 5 minutes, cover the sauce and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes and up to 30 or 40, for a richer, more slowly simmered, taste. If going this route, again, wait until finished before adding the fresh basil.

Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

As written this recipe will serve 4. It can be doubled easily and will freeze well.

Sure, you could just pop open a jar of some store brand sauce, heat it for five minutes and be on your way ... but why? If you make the sauce yourself, you'll know exactly what's in it. Its far healthier and you can vary the ingredients according to your tastes. Or, in my case, according to what's in the refrigerator! The thyme is definitely not traditional, but it tastes great and that's what I had on hand. I used it instead of basil. Do as you see fit.

I'll be submitting this recipe to Hey What's for Dinner Mom?'s Just Another Meatless Monday feature. I hope you'll try it!

Bon appetite!


Dana McCauley said...

I find when I get home that I'm usually at my most laziest about cooking - too much relaxation makes me slothful!

Welcome back.

words...words...words... said...

I love making my own sauce! You have a good one here. If you ever feel like changing it up a bit, use dry white wine instead of red. It sounds counterintuitive, but it really gives the sauce a kick. As for drinking though, I'll never have anything but red wine with red sauce.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Dana - I have a hard time getting back in the groove too. I baked a cake on Wednesday night and forgot to flour the pan after buttering it ... it stuck and ruined the top! LOL

words words words - excellent point about the white wine! It would add a zippy flavor. I tried it in my bolognese sauce last year on a tip from Dana, the commenter above, and it rocked.

Anonymous said...

Homemade sauce in 5 minutes - excellent!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Great recipe, I can almost taste it :)
Have a fab weekend.
*kisses* HH

Laura said...

Well Diva submitting this on Monday will earn you an entry into my Le Creuset giveaway...if you want it that is :D

This looks so great!

Debinhawaii said...

Simple, quick and delicious--what could be better? It looks wonderful.

pixelgal said...

Such interesting things do I learn from my Diva! I never knew that about marinara and love the story. RedPack tomatoes taste good too---not real fancy or expensive but good. Looks better than the corned beef I'm fixing tonight.

Julie said...

Sounds like a beautiful sauce to me :)

Maven said...

I pretty much think I love you for this one!

Sook said...

Oh I love good marinara sauce! Looks good!

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

welcome back diva.. and yeah going back to your old grind is hard after a holiday...
homemade sauces are always better than store bought.. but this one in 5 minutes... excellent!

stephchows said...

welcome back!! mmmm there is nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of pasta with some tasty red sauce! and the quicker the better!!

Tangled Noodle said...

I'm guilty as charged of opening store-bought jarred sauce. But I can be rehabilitated with this 5-minute recipe! Now that spring is springing, I'm looking forward to uncovering and replanting my favorite herbs to use fresh in this. 8-)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

I had no idea on the origin of the term marinara. Cool. And, how wonderful is this sauce to come together so quickly. Mr. GFE is a big pasta fan. Looks like I'll be making this soon--love it! Thank you. :-)


Sandi said...

really great blog you have here....I like it a lot