Monday, November 7, 2005

Hey- I cooked something new today!

Sort of. :-) I made basic pasta and marinara tonight for dinner. Which of course I have done many times before. But I did try a new marinara recipe today. I tried Giada's Basic Marinara from Everyday Italian, and I was not disappointed. It was bright and fresh tasting- exactly what I want in a marinara. I did make a few changes to suit my palate, but nothing too drastic. I followed her directions and used San Marzano tomatoes. Soooo worth the extra $2.50 a can for the San Marzanos. They are a wonderfully sweet tomato with almost zero acidity. Yum. They would be perfect for tomato soup actually.

For my changes, I add a few dashes of dried basil and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flake to the sauce as it cooked. And I didn't quite dice the vegetables small enough so I took the immersion blender to it for a few passes- not too many, so there were still some chunks. And the last change I made was to add a handful of fresh basil. It was extremely simple, and if you are looking for a fresh tasting marinara give this one a try. If you like a hearty meaty sauce this is not for you. :-) The recipe made plenty so I am going to tuck the rest in the freezer for another time. Another variation Giada gives is to add some olives for a puttanesca sauce, so I may do that, you just can't go wrong by adding kalamata olives and some feta cheese. Mmmm.

Here is Giada's recipe, it says it makes about 8 cups, but I think I ended up with about 10.

Marinara Sauce
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

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