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Homemade Marinara Sauce

27 January 2014

Marinara Sauce_heidikinscooks_Jan 2014

When I started college I began cooking college-life basics like pasta with sauce. I was shocked that the bottled sauce from the grocery store (the kind that sold for $1.00 a jar) didn’t taste like “real” sauce that my Mom or Grandmothers made. I started doctoring it a bit, adding onion and garlic and lots of spices. Before too long I stopped buying the jarred sauce and bought cans of tomatoes instead. This recipe is about 12 years in the making, but it is something I love and has been passed along to a number of friends, former roommates, and family. You can riff on this in countless ways, but having a good skeleton will make those riffs work. This recipe is not difficult and doesn’t require fancy ingredients, just let it simmer for a while and those flavors will mix together and your end result will be fantastic.

Marina Sauce

1 lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz diced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, diced (about 8-10 inches long)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 15 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
16 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Splash of lemon juice
More seasoning as necessary

Chop your veggies: mince the onion and garlic, chop the mushrooms and green pepper into tiny pieces, cut the zucchini into long sticks and then dice into ¼” cubes. Brown ground turkey in large pot, breaking up the meat with a spoon or spatula. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and green pepper, sauté a few more minutes, throw in the zucchini. Add the tomatoes, sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or so, stirring every so often. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary; if it feels a little blah, add more of your herbs, ground black pepper, or red pepper flakes. If it is too acidic, add a half teaspoon more sugar. You can eat this over pasta or spaghetti squash with a bit of grated Parmesan, use it for lasagna (this is about the perfect  amount of sauce for one 9×13 pan of lasagna), or freeze in zip-top bags for quick meals down the road.

*If you double this recipe you’ll have about 10 quarts of sauce, for a little quicker cooking, substitute 2 of the 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes for one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes.

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