Homemade Vine Ripened Marinara Sauce
Welcome to your new favorite kitchen adventure: crafting the perfect Vine Ripened Marinara Sauce from scratch! This guide is designed for everyone from the garden enthusiast with tomatoes to spare, to the budget-conscious cook looking to elevate their meals with homemade goodness. There’s something deeply satisfying about turning a bounty of garden-fresh tomatoes into a delicious sauce that can be enjoyed year-round.
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious newcomer in the kitchen, this recipe will guide you through creating a marinara sauce that boasts the rich, full flavors of vine-ripened tomatoes, all while keeping an eye on your budget.
Why This Recipe Is a Game-Changer
- Budget-Friendly: Utilize your garden’s harvest or take advantage of seasonal sales at your local market.
- Versatile: Perfect for pasta, pizza, meat dishes, and more.
- Freezer-Friendly: Make in bulk and enjoy homemade sauce any time of the year.
- Large skillet or saucepan
- Blender or food processor (for pureeing tomatoes)
- Freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags
- Cutting board and knife
- Wooden spoon
- 4 lbs vine-ripened tomatoes (the riper, the better), peeled, seeded, and pureed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing Your Tomatoes
- Peel and Seed: Begin by blanching your tomatoes to easily peel off the skins. Cut a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato, plunge them into boiling water for about a minute, then transfer to ice water. The skins should slide right off. Halve the tomatoes and gently squeeze or scoop out the seeds.
- Puree: Once peeled and seeded, puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside your fresh tomato puree for the sauce.
Cooking the Sauce
- Sauté Onions and Garlic: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion, cooking until translucent and slightly golden. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
- Combine and Simmer: Slowly incorporate the tomato puree into the skillet, stirring to combine with the onion and garlic. Add the chopped fresh herbs (or dried if using), sugar, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
- Reduce: Allow the sauce to simmer on medium-high heat. The sauce will start to reduce and thicken as the water content evaporates. This process concentrates the flavors and achieves a rich, robust marinara sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cool Down: Once your sauce has reached the desired consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. This is crucial for safe freezing and preserving the freshness of the sauce.
Freezing and Storage
- Portion and Freeze: Divide the cooled sauce into freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. Label each with the date and contents for easy identification later. Freeze flat to save space and allow for quicker thawing.
- Thawing and Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your homemade marinara, simply thaw a container in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
- Add Veggies: Enhance the nutritional value and flavor by adding chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, or carrots.
- Meaty Version: For a heartier sauce, consider adding ground beef, pork, or sausage during the sautéing stage.
- Spice It Up: Include red pepper flakes for a spicy kick or a dash of balsamic vinegar for depth.
- Classic Pasta: Serve over your favorite pasta for a timeless dish.
- Pizza Night: Use as a base for homemade pizzas.
- Dipping Sauce: Perfect for mozzarella sticks, garlic bread, or grilled vegetables.
Creating your Vine Ripened Marinara Sauce is not just about preserving the summer’s bounty; it’s about capturing the essence of home-cooked meals that bring warmth and joy to your table. This recipe offers a foundation for experimenting and making the sauce your own, with each batch reflecting the care and love put into it. Enjoy the process, savor the flavors, and take pride in knowing you’ve mastered the art of homemade marinara sauce.
Here’s to many delightful meals ahead, buoyed by the taste of your own culinary creation!
Vine Ripened Marinara Sauce for the Freezer
- 4 lbs vine ripened tomatoes riper the better peeled, seeded and pureed
- 1 large onion chopped well
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp fresh oregano finely chopped*
- 2 tsp fresh basil finely chopped*
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- * 1 tsp dried herbs can be substituted
- In a large skillet, heat oil then saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and sautee for about half a minute longer.
- Slowly add pureed tomatoes, combining well. Stir seasonings throughout sauce then cook on medium high, stirring frequently. Sauce will reduce and thicken over the heat. Once desired consistency is reached, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cool sauce and freeze in containers or ziploc bags.
On cooking day
- To use: Simply defrost and reheat and serve over pasta, chicken etc.