Two of my Instructable recipes, Manicotti – Without Having to Stuff the Tubes and Baked Penne for One…or Six, use my home made Marinara but don't have the Marinara recipe. Well...here it is. This recipe rounds out both recipes and is also good on any pasta. Two highlights to the aroma and the taste of this Marinara are fennel and balsamic vinegar. While you are cooking it, this Marinara will get you "That smells really good! When do we eat?"
A big pot of this Marinara makes portions for six, two person meals. Just pop the extras into the freezer and thaw them in the refrigerator (1 – 2 days) when you need them.
This is a microwave version and I use an older Panasonic microwave for cooking. However, I am sure it would work just fine on the range top.
Step 1: Ingredients
3 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes, drained (Hunt's)
2 15-oz cans petite diced tomatoes, drained (Hunt's)
2 10.75-oz cans tomatoes puree, (Hunt's)
1 can chicken broth (Swanson's, 14.5 oz)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & large grated
1½ tsp olive oil
1½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (Ortalli gold label)
Note: Each balsamic vinegar has a different flavor and there is a broad price range, some are quite expensive. I tried half-a-dozen different ones but none of them displaced Ortalli gold label. It turned out that none were even close.
Note: Each crushed tomato brand has a different flavor. When I was working up my pizza sauce, I tried at least eight different brands but none of them displaced Hunts.
Note: The difference between a 28-ounce can of regular crushed tomatoes and "no salt added" crushed tomatoes is that the can of regular crushed tomatoes has 3/4 teaspoon more salt.
Step 2: Preparation
1. Use at least a 3.5L, glass Dutch oven for cooking.
2. One at a time, pour the entire can of crushed tomatoes into a stainless steel fine mesh strainer to drain. Hold the strainer at about 45 degrees and rotate it until water stops draining. The crushed tomatoes will “firm up” when most of the water is gone. If you “toss” the crushed tomatoes in the strainer, you will lose some of the solids and get a smaller yield but it will still work. Also, the amount of water in crushed tomatoes varies, especially between brands. Add the drained crushed tomatoes to the pot. Drain the petite diced tomatoes and add to the pot. Add the tomato puree and chicken broth to the pot.
3. Peel the carrot and grate it with the coarse grate on a box grater and chop the celery, In a glass measure, cook both on High for 4 minutes and add to the pot.
4 Crush fennel between layers of paper (I use parchment because I have it) using a roller (pastry, French pin, classic) and add to the pot. Add sugar, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, oil, and vinegar to the pot. Mix well.
5. Cover; this is very important if you don't want to be cleaning the microwave. Cook on High for three, ten minute segments (30 minutes total). Stir between segments.
6. Cover and cook on Medium Low for 60 minutes. Check and stir every 20 minutes. If you want a thicker sauce, cook on High for the last 20 minutes. This will reduce the yield to five portions.
7. Cool and divide into containers and freeze. I use 9.5 ounce lidded containers and usually get about six containers.
Note: Use Chinet paper lunch plates (8-3/4-inches) as disposable lids. They are sturdy and just the right size.
Note: The Corning Visions 4.5L (5 Qt.) Glass Dutch Oven and the Corning Visions 3.5L (3.7 Qt.) Glass Dutch Oven both work well in the microwave. The 4.5L needs an 11½" paper plate for a lid. Pyrex glass measures, 1-cup through 2-quart, round out my cooking vessels.