This weekend, after a frustrating week at home with the kids, I needed an escape. A friend asked if I would like to spend an evening with her and another mutual friend. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance! After much discussion, the three of us decided to go out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. As we waited to place our orders, the three of us talked about how we were all picky eaters. We learned, though, how we were each picky in different ways. One person didn’t like sauces, and another didn’t like certain vegetables. Me, well, I’ve discussed my picky eating before. It turns out I’m not as picky as I’ve been made out to be over the years. Well, maybe.
My conversation at dinner with these amazing women and the food we ate got me to thinking about how far I’ve come, over the years, when it comes to foods. In fact, there are some foods that I refused to eat as a child, that I love now, like mushrooms and broccoli.
One food I used t0 hate was spaghetti. As a mom, I know this must have been pure torture for my poor parents. (It didn’t stop them from making it. I either had to eat it or starve.) Eventually, though, I learned to love spaghetti–when I was single and broke.
In recent years, I’ve gotten picky about spaghetti in a different way. I’m picky about what spaghetti I will eat. I refuse to order it from Olive Garden (and most Italian restaurants) because I think mine tastes better. Why order something from a restaurant if it isn’t as good as you make at home?
Usually the sauce I make uses canned tomatoes. Last year, I decided to try to make my own marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes from our garden. While most recipes have you peel and seed the tomatoes, I found that intimidating. So, rebel that I am, I made my sauce without peeling or seeding the tomatoes. The flavor of the sauce turned out great, but it was too thin and soupy. I needed to tweak it. I did and it turned out amazing! I hope you enjoy my delicious recipe for Fresh & Easy Marinara Sauce as much as my family does!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- Kosher salt & cracked pepper to taste
- 5-6 fresh tomatoes (adjust based on the size)
- 1/4 C. fresh chopped Italian parsley
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
- 1/2 C. dry red wine
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- You can add meat to the sauce after it is done cooking if you wish. I like this best with Italian sausage.
- In a large stockpot, add oil and warm.
- Add onions and garlic to pot. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot, except the sugar.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove cover and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Taste and add up to 1 Tbsp sugar if it is bitter. Stir and heat through.
- Break up the tomatoes then use an immersion blender to blend everything.
- Serve over your favorite pasta, like spaghetti, or freeze for later.
- If you don't have an immersion blender (get one!), then pour the contents of the pot into a food processor or heavy duty blender and blend that way.