Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good cheap-ass marinara sauce

The cornerstone of any cheap-ass kitchen is a good all-purpose pasta sauce. Now, granted, any tomato sauce is vastly improved by using fresh tomatoes. If you're overrun with fresh tomatoes, like so many people are this time of year, use those. But I make this with one ginormous 102-oz can of whole tomatoes from Sam's Club (cost: $3.08), and it's still yummy. And easy.

Note: if you're going to use canned tomatoes, use whole canned tomatoes. Canning companies use the very best tomatoes for the cans of whole. Diced tomatoes are second-best quality, and by the time you get down to crushed tomatoes, you're essentially buying tomato trash. Buy the whole ones, they taste better, and use your hand to crush them before adding them to the sauce. It's a great way to take out some aggression. And it tastes better.

Note number two: if you're using fresh tomatoes, peel them by dropping them whole into a bot of boiling water. Let them sit in there for a minute, then remove to a bowl of ice water. Make a slit in the bottom, and the skin should peel right off, like removing a sock. From there cut them open and scoop out the seeds. Use the remaining tomato flesh for the sauce.

1 onion, chopped
6-7 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
1 can anchovies
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 102-oz can of whole tomatoes, plus juice
1 cup red wine
Seasonings to taste: basil, oregano, thyme, salt
1-2 bay leaves.

Add the onion and garlic to the olive oil and saute until soft and translucent. Add the can of anchovies and let cook for another minute. Whisk the tomato paste with maybe 1/4 cup of water and add that. Let cook down for another few minutes and add the wine. Let that reduce by 1/3, then add everything else and simmer on low for 2 hours.

102 ounces of tomatoes is a lot, so you can use what you want for dinner and freeze the rest for future use.

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