Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Simple Marinara

Momma needs to fix quick meals sometimes, but I always want them to taste great, and I always want people to ask for seconds.

Momma Explains: Simple meals require few ingredients but always use fresh ingredients. Serve simple dishes with a nice wine that compliments the meal and creates harmony at the table. If it is a simple meal, I often am able to put it together quickly so there is minimal cooking time. One of my favorite quick fix meals is macaroni and marinara sauce. I always serve marinara with chianti, such as Ruffino Chianti Classico. Add a Romaine salad, some crusty bread, some nice olive oil and you can feel the LOVE !

Momma's Marinara: You MUST use San Marzano tomatoes or it will not be full of the love, and natural sweet flavor that is unique to only San Marzano tomatoes. Take a big sauce pan or large skillet, add about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, then, to the hot oil ( cook on medium heat) add one chopped sweet onion, a big onion is fine, sprinkle with salt and cook till opaque. Then add your San Marzano tomatoes. They are more expensive but worth every penny. The can of San Marzano is usually about 28 oz., you can use more tomatoes if you wish. This is for one pound of pasta and the sauce is minimal so if you want a wetter dish, add two cans of tomatoes. Add three cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste and three sprigs of basil. I do not detach the leaves from the stem, and of course, I just cut them off my plant. If you do not grow your own herbs, get a basil plant in water from the market and use sprigs from there. Now the fun part, you can leave the sauce to these simple elements or add some leftovers. The other night I added pork medallions but spicy cappicola or ham would be tasty too. If you want to use up some left over meats, it is awesome flavor or just keep it fresh and simple. I always start my water when I start this sauce. As the water reaches a boil, add your salt, I use about a tablespoon of sea salt. Then pick your favorite pasta/macaroni. I like penne for this but you choose. The sauce is cooked in about 10 minutes, so as soon as the pasta is done al dente, dump it into the sauce and simmer briefly before serving. Freshly grated pepper and Romano cheese are a nice option. Now pour the wine and grab a plate, a big one, and enjoy.

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