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Marinara Sauce

I believe that no one can have too much marinara sauce on the shelf.  Whether you use it as spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, a hot dip for breadsticks and cheese sticks, or a spread for bruschetta . . . marinara is extremely versatile and flavorful and makes a super speedy meal.

I like to simmer up a base sauce for canning. Then, once I’ve decided what I’m cooking for the day I add in ingredients specific to my dish.  I might add fresh grated parmesan and herbs if it’s for spaghetti, and I might simmer for longer and then chop it smoother in the food processor because at least one of my kids likes their marinara smoother. If I’m making bruschetta I keep it chunkier. For pizza sauce I’d probably puree, cook it down longer and add in fresh oregano. Whatever is your fav, making up a batch of marinara ensures that you cut your meal prep time down to almost nothing.

I plan a giant batch, and then halve that (because I don’t have a pot big enough), so this pictorial will be half of my giant batch.  The small batch recipe at the end of this post will be a quarter of the giant batch.

Finely dice 4-5 onions and 8 garlic cloves. Dry saute until golden and starting to carmelize.

Slice 12 – 13 pounds of roma tomatoes. Add onions/garlic to sliced tomatoes and a #10 can of crushed tomatoes.  I use a cutting mandolin to make everything go faster, but be careful with your fingers!

Simmer tomatoes and onions together until sauce is made but marinara is still somewhat chunky. It will probably take 30 minutes to 1 hours.  Then add in  1 cup chopped basil (and/or 1/4 cup fresh oregano), 1/3 – 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring all to a boil, then turn off heat.  Ladle marinara into hot jars through funnel (8 quarts or 16 pints for this size recipe).  Screw on lids and hot seals, and process for 30 minutes for pints at sea level, 35 minutes at 5000 feet.

Recipe: half giant batch Marinara

1 #10 can crushed tomatoes (use a quality label) or 8-10 pounds roma tomatoes, simmered

12-13 pounds of roma tomatoes

4-5 onions

8 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped basil and/or 1/4 cup fresh oregano

1/3 – 1/2 c fresh lemon juice or vinegar

salt and pepper to taste (start with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and don’t overseason)

Recipe:  small batch Marinara

3-4 lbs crushed (canned) tomatoes (or 5 lbs diced roma tomatoes, simmered)

6-7 lbs roma tomatoes

2-3 onions

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup chopped basil and/or  1/8 cup fresh oregano

juice of 2-3 lemons or 1/4 cup vinegar

salt and pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and don’t overseason)

Saute thinly sliced onion and diced garlic until lightly browned and starting to carmelize. Add to diced tomatoes and simmered tomatoes (or canned) in large pot.  Simmer until still chunky but thickened, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add basil (and/or oregano), lemon juice (or vinegar) and salt and pepper.  Bring to a slow boil.  Turn off heat, ladle into hot jars (makes about 4 quarts, 8 pints), and process in water bath for 30 minutes pints at sea level, 35 minutes at 5000 feet.

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