The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Basic Veggie Marinara

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

If, like me, Fate neglected to issue you an Italian grandma, this marinara sauce is for you! It takes some time, but it’s definitely worth it. This was adapted from a bunch of marinara recipes I’ve found over the years plus a little experimentation of my own, and it produces a sauce that’s light enough to withstand the addition of meat but hearty enough to stand on its own. The secret ingredient is the zucchini!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Medium Zucchini, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced Or Crushed (3-5, Depending On Size)
  • ¼ teaspoons Rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cups Red Wine
  • 2 cans Stewed Tomatoes (28 Oz. Size, Diced Is Easiest)
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce (29 Oz. Size)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 teaspoons Sugar

Preparation

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and zucchini and toss in oil. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to turn translucent.

2. Add garlic, rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper(s). I usually use fresh basil and dried everything else, but experimentation is fun. Sometimes I add thyme, too. The only warning I can offer is that much more rosemary than that seems to overpower the sauce.

Once you’ve added your herbs, stir the pot for another minute or two.

3. Pour in the wine. Listen to it sizzle! Stir for another minute or two again.

4. If your tomatoes are diced, toss them into the pan, liquid and all. If not, drain them first, then break them up with your spoon or spatula while they cook. (Alternatively, make a huge mess by crushing individual tomatoes in your fist. It’s therapeutic.)

5. Add tomato sauce, salt and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until you’re happy with the consistency. Longer simmers lead to thicker sauce.

Once the sauce has thickened, you’re done. Serve over pasta or on a cubesteak sandwich, or cold as a dipping sauce with batter-fried veggies. Cook up with ground beef and rice and use it for stuffed peppers or cabbage roles. The sky’s the limit!

It freezes really well and keeps for a long time in the fridge, but I haven’t tested its fridge-longevity past a month or so. You could probably can it but I haven’t attempted that yet.

For variety, you can include summer squash or mushrooms in place of (or in addition to) zucchini, or add a diced green or colored bell pepper in the initial step.

You can also use diced carrot, although it seems to disintegrate during cooking. Add a dash or cayenne pepper or some Tabasco sauce for a spicy version. If you have home-canned tomatoes, try using those!

2 Comments

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saucydryad on 8.6.2009

Looks fantastic. Love the idea of adding whatever extra veggies you have on hand! Have you heard anything about the merits of using brown sugar with tomatoes as opposed to white?

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thegreenwife on 7.22.2009

I made this tonight to top chicken parmigiana and it’s amazing! Chunky, flavorful with a bite to it. Will definitely be making it again, but…in a smaller batch. Had to send some home with friends!

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