Friday, August 17, 2012

Fresh Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce Recipe

 
 I refuse to believe it is back-to-school time already. Though back-to-school doesn't mean much when your kids aren't in school yet, the feeling is still there. It just got warm around here and we're not done with beach and pool days. Tomatoes are at their best right now, so we decided to ditch the canned tomatoes and make a basic marinara with fresh tomatoes. A lot of fresh tomatoes. 15 pounds of mostly Roma tomatoes, with a few heirlooms just for fun.
 Peeling these beauties is easy. After roasting tomato halves for 10 minutes, skins slip right off.
Now comes the fun part. Squash them up! You could of course chop them, but this is the traditional Italian way. And a lot more fun. The crushed tomatoes are then simmered with garlic, onion, wine, and fresh basil for a couple of hours.
We decided to make this batch of marinara our first tomato sauce canning experience. I have to admit, I think canning is not my thing. Canning tomatoes and tomato sauces is a bit more complicated than jams or pickles, as there has to be the correct amount of acidity to be safe to preserve. My usual cooking method involves tossing in whatever I like, and when preparing marinara for canning, adding anything extra lowers the pH, making it unsafe to store. The USDA says that marinara should only be canned in pressure canners to prevent botulism, so I ended up putting my water bath canned jars in the freezer. If you are not planning to can your sauce, have fun and play with the recipe as you please! I like to simmer this sauce with a small can of tomato paste, a bit of Parmesan rind, a handful of fresh parsley, and finish it with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Fresh Marinara Sauce
printer friendly recipe

This is a great basic marinara to have on hand, and I'll be glad to have extra in the freezer the next time I'm making spaghetti or lasagna. If you're freezing in canning jars, just be sure to leave at least 1" for expansion.

Makes 3 quarts (cut this recipe in half if you don't want a huge amount)

15 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions 
8 cloves garlic
2 cups dry white wine 
1 large bunch fresh basil 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place tomatoes cut-side-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Roast for 10 minutes. Cool and peel the skins off and discard. Place peeled tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush with clean hands, or chop tomatoes. Discard any tough stems.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat until reduced by one third to one half, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend with an immersion blender if you would like a less chunky sauce.


*A note on freezing - you can freeze sauce in a freezer-safe storage container with a lid, or in a mason jar like I did. Be sure to to bring your sauce to room temperature before freezing, and leave at least 1-inch of room from the top of the jar to allow the sauce to expand without the jar exploding.

If you would like to can your marinara sauce for later, visit
CanningUSA
and more importantly
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning




36 comments:

  1. I love your photos, I love the 'squishing' and I love the finished jar with the label. I agree with you tat actual canning can be too scary, I opt for the 'eat it soon and don't worry' method!

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  2. This is wonderful, Marina!!! I have always froze my homemade sauce, as well! I actually think it tastes better! Lovely recipe and photos!

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  3. i wanna squish the tomatoes TOOOOOO!!!

    incredible sauce - it sounds amazing!

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  4. Marina, :) I was thinking about marinara sauce for my muffins today! Your girls did a wonderful job squishing tomatoes. It reminds me of fall in Italy when some villages have gathering to squish grape harvest for a vine.
    All this super-safety is so overrated, don't you think? I use my mother's recipe for canning. Her recipes came from my grandmother, which means they are over a hundred years old recipes, long before pressure cooker and official regulations came on board. Because people distanced themselves from their food source so much, sadly, many can't judge what is safe without looking at expiration date.
    For the very same reason you mentioned, I don't share my canning recipes on my blog, only short term preserving, that has to be consumed in 2-3 weeks.
    Would be interesting to learn how freezing affects the taste of the sauce. My curiosity puts me to work...:)

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  5. Oy vey! I wouldn't even attempt canning marinara myself. Seems too complicated for me right now. Maybe when all my 3 kids are out of my house and I have more peace and quiet, then I can attempt to do canning right! I'm afraid I'll just poison my family if I did it right now. hehe. Anyway, your sauce looks fab! Can't wait to try your recipe!

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  6. What a perfect sauce, I love the basil and white wine additions!

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  7. Marina, these jars are gorgeous and for the first time in my husbands life, he grew a million tomatoes so weneed to figure out what to do with them:) thank you!!!!!

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  8. Hi Marina!!! Looks beautiful and marinara/sauce is definitely something I've been wanting to learn lately. I am not too into the idea of canning, either. Can I just put the sauce in a mason jar and stick it in the freezer? Does it have to have a "seal?" And how long do you think it will last in the fridge that way? Beautiful pictures!!!!

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    1. Hi Jessica! Let the sauce cool completely before freezing. You can either freeze in a freezer-safe storage container or a mason jar. You don't need to do the whole canning seal thing if it's going in the freezer. In the fridge I'm not sure how long I would keep it.. For freezing just be sure you leave at least an inch of space so the sauce can expand without your jar exploding!

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    2. Anonymous2:01 PM

      I'm making this as we speak! Question though, do u strain the squished tomatoes?

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  9. Your pasta sauce sounds absolutely delightful! Nothing beats homemade!!

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  10. sounds soooo yummy. i have done the canning tomatoes thing but never sauce. my favorite marinara is made by an italian friend who uses her canned tomatoes and these tiny baby onions.

    smiles to you!

    michele

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  11. Marina, I have to admit seeing your little one squash the tomatoes is wonderful. I try to have my daughter help me in the kitchen as much as possible. Isn't it wonderful watching them? Beautiful photos as always

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  12. Oh Marina, this sounds so fresh and delicious! I've been wanting to try and make my own marinara sauce, kind of a puttanesca version with capers, but definitely no anchovies...ugh. Love the photo of your little helper...my daughter would enjoy the squishing part too. Happy weekend to you :)

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  13. Sounds great!! And Marina you take incredibly gorgeous photos! :)

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  14. I have yet to can any sauces, so when I do, this is my reference:). I love the little note a the end to put a tbsp of balsamic into the sauce. I have never done that, and I need to!!!!

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  15. The hand squished method looks like loads of fun!

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  16. Wow that's some stunning photography! Making of this sauce looks so fun :)

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  17. This is wonderful. Tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, it's like we are in Italy. This is just delicious, plus it's so healthy. There is nothing better than homemade tomato sauce. Beautiful!

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  18. Tracey Evans6:55 AM

    I love homemade marinara. Now I just need 15 pounds of tomatoes! :)

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  19. What a gorgeous blog! I am so glad I found it! I have a recipe for marinara that you can check out here http://serenapalumbo.com/blog/?p=491
    I hope you like it.
    Ciao

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  20. WOW! Sauce has never looked so good!

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  21. I have never tried canning and it certainly scares me. I do however love making our own sauce from scratch. You are right, it is so easy and tastes so much better than anything jarred!

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  22. Ohhhh, great "steam" shot! And you have a precious little kitchen helper!!!! Love the sauce..fresh is always the best when it comes to tomatoes! tim

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  23. My kids would be all over the crushing part! Canning does get complicated and I think that's why I don't do as much as I want to. In fact I have a grape vine which is almost ready with a huge load of fruit and I'm thinking about turning it into grape butter or jelly if I can find a way which doesn't require the heating/sealing dealio....
    Nice post!

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  24. I found your blog via Pinterest and I've been throughly enjoying checking out your recipes!! Your little helpers are adorable too :)
    My mother planted a handful of tomato plants in my garden while she was visiting earlier this summer and as of recently they are in FULL BLOOM! I'm not sure exactly what type they are?! But i was thinking of maybe using them for this recipe?! do you think the flavor would still be similar?! or is it best with the Roma tomatoes?!

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  25. an easy tip. you dont have to roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes, just pour boiling water over them, saves time and energy.

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  26. I've always wanted to make my own marinara sauce! This sounds easy enough and I adore the idea of gifting it too.

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  27. Just made this recipe. It was my first ever marinara sauce and I must say it is amazing!! It was so easy and so good! I look forward to trying out more of your recipes!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it! :)

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  28. Jodi Veldheer6:14 AM

    How long should the sauce last in the freezer? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jodi!

      According to Still Tasty it will be of the best quality for several months, but will be safe indefinitely if kept at 0 degrees F constantly.

      Mine only lasted a couple of months because we kept eating it almost weekly :)

      http://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18362

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  29. Anonymous10:31 PM

    I'm trying to figure out why everyone is so timid about canning? Seriously, if illiterate Nonna could do it, why can't a bunch of educated adults with an internet connection. Blows my mind how numb, fearful, and ignorant/misinformed we've become about our food in the age of information

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    1. There are plenty of wonderful canning recipes, blogs and books, but this is not one of them. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  30. Probably because Botulism is pretty serious business, especially with kids. It's odorless and tasteless. Personally, I would rather be on the safe side and freeze my sauce that I made up than follow a canning recipe and deal with boiling jars. That's my personal preference - I'm sorry it's upsetting for you.

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