Quick Sauce and Even Quicker

I have no Nonna but I do have an Italian food loving mom, so Sunday often as not saw sauce cooking away on the stove. Some was destined for dinner, the rest for the freezer. And you can plan ahead like that too. I like to call freezer ready foods money in the bank.

The thing is, if there is no meat or chicken in the gravy, it doesn't take all that long to cook anyway. You could even do a very decent 15 minute marinara. Would it fool your Nonna? I don't know. Will it feed the family? Uh, yeah! In fact 15 minute sauce is my go to when nobody's home. In fact that and my hidden indulgences from the DVR? Need I say more?!

Tomato (marinara) Sauce

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 28 oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, tomato purée or chopped tomatoes (purée larger tomatoes for a more consistent sauce, or leave it chunky)

1 tablespoon-ish, dried oregano (fresh works too)

1 bay leaf

1 pinch red pepper flakes

Salt pepper

Melt onion, carrot, garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Salt & pepper. Add tomatoes & spices. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer. Cook at least 30 minutes, longer if you like. Adjust seasonings.

Faster tomato sauce

1 can Italian tomatoes, chopped, whole or purée

Olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon-ish dried oregano (fresh works too)

1 bay leaf

1 pinch red pepper flakes

Salt pepper

Add olive oil to pan over medium heat, toss in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer Cook 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Eating options: Toss with pasta, veg, serve over chicken cutlets, use to poach fish or eggs.

Cooking options: fresh basil (add at end), pitted kalamata olives, capers, anchovies, leftover red wine (long cooked version only, reduce over onion, carrot garlic)

Last Note: many chefs I know add 1/4 teaspoon sugar to cooking tomatoes to combat the acid. I didn't grow up that way, but I do it when I remember. I probably remember 40% of the time – multi-tasking makes you stupid, at least that's what they say.



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