Sometimes you just want some basic tomato sauce. You don’t want it to be boring, though, which is why there’s smoky marinara sauce. The secret ingredient is Muir Glen brand fire-roasted canned tomatoes, which hopefully are available wherever you happen to be (I know they are in Minnesota, anyway, as well as California). I got this recipe from my mom and really like it with cheese ravioli. I’d never made it for myself, however, before Tuesday night, and frankly the result didn’t taste as good as mom’s. Mine got sort of watery somehow, which is maybe because I wasn’t exactly sure what to buy when the recipe called for “crushed tomatoes.” Trader Joe’s didn’t have anything called that, so I just bought a can of tomatoes in tomato juice. I think maybe a tomato sauce or puree would have been better, at least for me, because I don’t particularly like big chunks of canned tomato. I’ll have to experiment. Despite the consistency problem, though, this tasted good and was easy to make. It made a lot of sauce, so I was able to freeze some for quick meals in the future.
Postscript, December 2009: Turns out that I rarely want basic tomato sauce, so I never really make this. It's going to the "Not Favorites" category, but using fire-roasted tomatoes is still a good trick when you want to spice things up.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
28-ounce can Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (as I said, I would perhaps use canned tomato sauce or puree)
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is warm add the garlic and herbs and saute for 1 minute.
2. Chop the fire-roasted tomatoes and add them (along with their juices) to the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes (or sauce or puree) as well, along with the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper, and simmer everything for about 10 minutes.
Serves: The recipe says it makes 6 cups, which by my reckoning is at least 8 servings
Time: Under 30 minutes