Greetings from fabulous Waterloo, my summer home! Added resources include an actual camera (I've been using my Blackberry), an herb garden (which sadly doesn't have basil yet), a working oven, and a car with which to bring home heavy objects. That last one in particular was key for this recipe, because of all the canned tomatoes it calls for. But if you live close to the grocery store, it's still worth it.
So what is it? A huge pot of marinara sauce! And why is that fantastic? It's very good for freezing, great for use in other recipes, easy to make, and it makes it easy to whip up a very quick homemade meal.
You need either five large cloves of garlic, or one medium onion. I chose garlic, because I couldn't see any reason not to. First, slice the garlic thinly, like so. I also measured out a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes. These go into the pot shortly after the garlic, so keep them together. If you do decide on onion, chop it finely.
Then, measure out your tomatoes. You want to get whole canned tomatoes, even though they are to be broken up first thing. I found that most canned tomatoes that weren't whole were heavily seasoned. You'll need about 6 1/2 pounds, but the measurement does not have to be exact. I was excited about having a scale, and so I used it, but you can see I didn't use the full amount. In fact, 6 1/2 pounds is about 3 1/2 28 fl.oz cans, so you might want to forget the pound measurement and just buy three cans. I plan on using a half can for something else today, which is why I wasn't too bothered by it.
Next, the fun part! Break the tomatoes up. If you have a food processor, you can chop the tomatoes a bit at a time thusly, but believe it or not, it involves a lot less cleaning to get your hands in there and squish them yourself. It's more fun too. Just don't get too excited, as they squirt quite a bit.
Next, heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium-heat. Throw in the garlic! Saute it until golden brown, about five minutes. If you used onion, this will take quite a bit longer, but the process is the same. Once that's done, throw in your 1/2 tsp pepper flakes, and stir for fifteen seconds or so. Then (carefully) add your tomatoes. Wait for it to come to a boil.
While you're waiting, prepare 1/4 cup of torn basil leaves, and 1/2 tablespoon salt. I used coarse Sicilian sea salt! For no other reason than that it was there. Stir constantly, please.
Once the tomatoes and garlic come to a boil, throw in the basil and salt, stir it up, and lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Set a timer for a half hour, and sit down. Come back, give'r a stir, and check the consistency. If it's saucy and a bit orange on top, it's done! If not, keep it simmering for another 10 to 15 minutes.
I'm the farthest thing from Italian, so this entry is probably a bit blasphemous. It really is good though! If you have a more authentic recipe, I'd love tips!
The main point is that this marinara can be used in many other recipes. I despise recipes that call for marinara sauce when I don't have any in the freezer. I feel so cheated, and as though I didn't really make the end product. NO MORE!