Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Marinara {with Garden Fresh Tomatoes}

I am so thrilled about this recipe, I can hardly stand it. Its a little embarrassing how enthused I am over tomatoes - but I enjoyed everything about making this homemade, from scratch marinara sauce!

{witness the glory of these little babies!}

It came from tomatoes from my very own tomato plant - my first ever attempt. I purchased a small, slightly leggy roma plant from my local nursery a few months ago, and watched it go from lanky and lean to bushy and wild with dozens of tomatoes all over it. What a thrill! Granted, my first batch of tomatoes had blossom end rot. Apparently my love (watering enthusiasm) was a little too much for it in June. 

The next round looked much better. I think I might have gone a little overboard with fertilizer, but since I chose a liquid organic fertilizer I don't feel too bad about it.

Last week it looked like I had enough to make marinara. I counted 12 ripe tomatoes, but when I actually went to harvest, I had 20. Twenty! They are definitely smaller than grocery store romas (about two thirds the size by my estimation), but hey, who's counting? 

So without further ado, the recipe: 

Homemade Marinara from Garden Fresh Tomatoes 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Makes 4-5 servings

20 or so garden fresh Roma Tomatoes (if using larger tomatoes, cut this down to about 15)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup wine (I used white wine since I had an open bottle, red would be even better)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons dried Italian seasoning (Herbs de Provence is fantastic for this)
Fresh basil, about 6-8 large leaves, finely chopped
Fresh oregano, about 2 Tablespoons finely chopped
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Before beginning, peel your tomatoes and remove the seeds. Here's how to do it: 

After washing your tomatoes, use a sharp knife to remove the stems. If you have any sunburned or imperfect tomatoes, remove the blemished parts. With the knife, cut an "x" on the bottom of the tomato. Prepare a pot of boiling water and a large bowl with ice and cold water. Working in batches, gently lower 7-10 tomatoes into the boiling water. A slotted spoon works well for this. Leave each batch of tomatoes in the boiling water for 15-30 seconds before removing them and placing them directly into the cold water. You'll notice the skin wrinkling. The idea here is to use heat to loosen the skin of the tomato, but not cook it. The ice water stops the tomato from cooking. Here is my batch in their ice bath: 

After all your tomatoes are blanched and shocked, getting the skin off is easy. Simply grasp the skin by a loose section and peel. It should slip right off. Next, you'll want to remove the seeds. Pull or cut the tomatoes apart over a strainer, catching the seeds and reserving the juice. Its impossible to remove all the seeds, but this way will get most of them out. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. They will break down a lot while cooking, so no need to chop too finely. 

{Tomatoes, ready to party}

Alright, now you're ready to make the sauce. 

In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring often, until they soften and brown. Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, grated carrots, and tomato juice saved from de-seeding. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours. As your liquid begins to evaporate, add the 1/2 cup of chicken stock, 2 tablespoons tomato paste and a splash of wine. Add the fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 30 minutes on a low simmer. 

{make sure you are busy with something important so as not to be tempted to eat all your sauce before company arrives} 

Cook and drain the pasta during the last 12 minutes or so before the marinara is ready. Serve and enjoy! 

This recipe started from this one and took a wild turn at the carrots and stock. It was totally divine. So divine that I swore to plant 3 times as many tomatoes next year so I can make at least 3 times as much marinara! 

If you make it, I'd love to hear how it turns out. 




  1. Just made a huge batch of this to freeze (added Italian sausage). So so yummy, thank you so much for your recipe!!

    1. Hi Danielle,

      You're very welcome - I'm so glad it turned out well!




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