One of my favorite things to make from scratch is marinara. Being that it was such a beautiful summer, and I’ve been able to harvest my tomatoes non stop for the last couple weeks, it seemed high time to cook up a batch, just in time for the rainy season (Late September through June, here in Seattle). Everyone seems to know, or have that sly Italian cook in their family. you know, the one that thinks that they are the bees knees by not sharing the whole recipe. Leaving out certain ingredients, to maybe keep you coming back, or in my opinion, its obviously because they are (for lack of a better term) a dick. Let me just let you in on that little marinara secret you all think is sugar. Its not. You great great aunty is giggling at you from her grave right now. I’ve found that a handful of basil, a red pepper, and half a sweet onion does the sweetening to perfection every time.
My favorite thing to do with said home made marinara is to broil it with any number of small goat cheese balls. Stick them in the oven on a high broil for a few minutes, and serve it up with some delightful crustini.
For the marinara
4 lbs chopped roma tomatoes at peak perfectly red ripeness
1 lb cherry tomatoes
1 thinly chopped carrot
1 celery stock
1 sweet finely chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
1 roasted bulb of garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
a handful of chopped basil leaves
1 tsp chili peppers… or less.. or more depending on your preference.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Cut the top off your bulb of garlic, cover it in olive oil, wrap it in tinfoil, and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Saute your onions, celery, and carrots with olive oil, in a rather large pot. Once your onions have blanched, add in 2 cups of water, the wine, and vinegar, your tomatoes, herbs, and chili peppers. Let that simmer on medium low for an hour or so. Somewhere in the middle of this, when your garlic has finished, pop those cloves lovingly into the pot as well. After that hour is up, and your tomatoes have begun to crawl out of their own skin, remove them from the heat, take your hand blender, and blend them until they are a beautiful puree. If you have no hand blender, mash them like you would potatoes, or stick them in an actual blender. Tada! Home made marinara.
Now for the fun. Transfer the marinara into small ramkins, and place 4 or 5 in inch goat cheese balls in each. Toast up baguette slices that you have slathered in olive oil. Pop the ramkins in the oven on a high broil for 3 to 5 minutes and serve!