If I could suggest one cooking tip to every person on the planet it would be to learn how to cook a basic Marinara sauce. You should memorize the recipe so you know it where ever you may be. Knowing a few basic sauces will make your life so much easier. You will always be able to make dinner, which is something I love.
Because Marinara is so versatile and you can use it with so many things, this was the first sauce that I chose to experiment with and make a recipe for. I have a few different Marinara sauces that I use, but this is the one that I can pull out of my head no matter what, and 9 times out of 10 I will always have every ingredient on hand that I need to make the sauce.
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red Pepper (optional)
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Onion, diced
1/3 cup Onion, diced
1 28oz. can Tomatoes with juices
4 Tbs. Tomato paste
1 Tbs. fresh Oregano, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
1 Tbs. fresh Parsley, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
4 fresh Basil leaves ripped up or 1 tsp. dried
3/4 cup dry Red Wine
Pinch of sugar
In a big pot pour your olive oil, and heat over medium heat until it is boiling a little bit. Dump in your minced garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper. Let simmer in that hot olive oil until the garlic is really fragrant. Mix in your tomato paste and break it apart and get it smooth with the olive oil. Next you're going to pour in your wine. Once you pour in your wine you want the alcohol to really cook out. What I do is pour in my wine and cook it until it reduces a little bit (about 5 minutes). Remember that all of this is done over medium to medium high heat.
Also, if you want a creamier, and a little thicker sauce you can also add 4-5 Tbs. cream cheese. I use this every once in awhile because it just makes the sauce a little richer, and creamy. It's a fun little twist on the basic sauce.
Once your wine mixture sauce has reduced dump in your can of tomatoes. Let those simmer for about 5 minutes, and then you want to mash them up. I use my potato masher to break apart my tomatoes. Mix in your pinch of sugar (this will bring a really Nummy flavor of your tomatoes out. A natural sweetness that most can tomatoes don't have). Once I break them apart a little bit I'm going to turn my stove on medium low and cover. You're going to let it cook until your sauce is thick. I normally let my simmer for about 30 minutes.
Once it has gotten to your desired thickness you can use it for spaghetti, over meatball subs, a dip for crusty bread, just anything you really want. Like I said, this is a great go to sauce and you can use it for so many things. Just learn the basic ingredients and you can impress your friends anywhere you go, or you have a quick dinner if friends pop over during the Holidays. :) Merry Christmas Nummy readers!