Tomatoes. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.
I have them coming out of my ears. And they aren't even mine! I'll admit, I'm a little nervous as there are easily 30 green tomatoes out on my patio, awaiting their ripening destiny. What am I going to do when mine start coming in? Oh yes, the aforementioned tomatoes are from the hubby's uncle's garden. I used about 15 lbs to make marinara, and I think I've still got another 15 lbs in the fridge. And, I just woke up to a brand new bag of tomatoes on my doorstep. Sheesh.
If you have tomatoes, tomatoes, and then some more tomatoes, marinara is a great way to use up some of them. I like to simmer my sauce for most of the day, so I don't peel my tomatoes or cut them up very much. After cooking in a stockpot for 5-6 hours, you are going to end up with broken down tomatoes, whether you chopped them or not. It's the perfect sauce if you are feeling lazy.
I mentioned before in my French Dip post that I had a bone leftover from cooking the roast. That bone simmered with this sauce, and made it amaze-balls. It's an almost vegetarian sauce! I'm telling you, bones a make a world of difference. And just think, all you have to do is save one from dinner, freeze it, and throw it in a sauce or soup at your leisure. I really can't advocate this type of recycling enough. It's the easiest way to sneak some incredible flavor into your dish. Another easy way? Save the rinds from your fresh cheese! Cheese rinds are amazing as well. In fact, I simmered a cheese rind in the sauce with the bone.
One more tip that made this sauce da bomb. I found a head of roasted garlic in the fridge, so I threw that in as well. Holy moly, it smelled amazing. I think you could sub plain garlic for the roasted, but dang, why would you want to? My advice? Roast that garlic :)
After simmering the sauce all day, I like to take my emulsion blender to it. Hence the reason I barely chop my tomatoes before I put them in the pot. A quick blend of the pot, and you have amazing homemade sauce. This recipe made a huge pot, I used a couple of cups of sauce for dinner that night, and then ended up freezing the rest. I was able to fill 3 freezer bags! Another batch is in the works, so I'm hopefully thinking I won't have to buy any jarred marinara this winter.
The little brother arrives today, everyone! I'm super excited. I'm off for a quick run, and then off to the airport I go! He's flying into Huntington this time, so a nice, short drive to the airport will be pleasant. And, as usual when I have family in town, I'm guessing the blog will be sporadic next week. I'll probably get back to the normal blogging around the 18th or so.
Ingredients (makes ~12 cups):
1 tbsp olive oil
1 head garlic, roasted
15 lbs tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
roast bone, parmesan cheese rind (optional)
fresh herbs, roughly chopped (parsley, basil, oregano, etc.) optional
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. When warm, squeeze roasted garlic into pot. Sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes through bone and cheese rind (if using). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove bay leaves, cheese rind, and bone. Discard. Using an emulsion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Add freshly chopped herbs to the sauce, if using. Stir. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta, or begin to cool sauce for freezing. Do not package and freeze until sauce has cooled.
Looking for other ways to use fresh tomatoes? Try these!