penne with homemade marinara sauce

Here goes nothin’.

This is what I thought to myself when I started cooking on Monday.  If Chef Sam and Lauren can wing it, so can I!  I was super inspired by them after this past weekend.

I didn’t really ‘wing’ it though, I just attempted something I’ve never done before.  This is BIG for me since I’ve been sticking to leftovers and the same simple recipes for over a month.

So listen to this.

Instead of buying a jar of pasta sauce… I made my own.  I didn’t buy a can of tomatoes and then add spices, I used fresh tomatoes and made the whole dang thing.  Everything from scratch!

First I found these instructions and learned how to blanch my tomatoes for the sauce.

Blanching and braising are words I had heard on the Food Network but never really knew what they were.  This is sad yet true but now I’ve done one! I’m a little proud.

I had one big tomato leftover from the SOJ Chef Demo and a ton of cherry (?) tomatoes leftover from our CSA box.

I began the process by slicing an X on the top of each of the tomatoes.  This makes it easier to peel the skin off once they’ve been blanched.

Then I cooked them in boiling water for about 1 minute.

After that I immediately removed them from the pot and dumped them into a bowl filled with ice cold water to stop the cooking process.  Does anyone know why you need to stop the cooking?  Just wondering.

Then I peeled off the skin which took forever but I didn’t mind.  I find cooking to be quite relaxing!  And I know that next time when I use big tomatoes it won’t take me much time at all.

Once they were all peeled and very slimy, I roughly chopped them into bit size pieces.

Time to start the sauce.  I found this super simple recipe from Cooking Light.

I only had basil and garlic left to prep once the tomatoes were done.  I’m a dried herbs kinda gal but this fresh basil really made a difference!

Hi Roary!

Everything went into the pot (per the recipe) to cook for 25 minutes.  When it had about 10 minutes left, I cooked up the penne pasta for about 8 minutes.

After I was done, I ran off to yoga while Al came home to eat the dish by himself.  I came back to a positive review!  Often times he tells me a dish is good when really it’s not that great but this sauce was very tasty.  I added extra garlic and spices because we like it that way so there was a great kick to it.

So tasty, so healthy, so fresh.

Do you have a specialty that you make from scratch?

P.S. If you’re like my mom and don’t like chunky sauce, just use an immersion or regular blender to smooth it out!

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10 comments on “penne with homemade marinara sauce

  1. Little Sis says:

    Looks awesome, although I must confess that to me there’s something very sinister about blanching and peeling tomatoes. They look so wounded afterwards. Would be great on my husband’s homemade pasta, which is by far my favorite of our scratch dishes. Yum. Now I can’t wait for Sunday. 🙂

  2. Alicia says:

    As far as I know, you want to stop the cooking process because tomatoes tend to turn a rather unnattractive color when overcooked – plus, you’re going to cook them more in the sauce, so you don’t want to overcook them just to get the skins off, because then you run the chance of them turning bitter. (Speaking from bitter-tomato-sauce-experience. There isn’t enough basil in the world!)

  3. elisariva says:

    You are my hero. I would go crazy pealing all of those. As I read I was expecting an extra ingredient of ocra. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  4. vegology says:

    Bravo!!! Fresh makes a difference! You’re so sweet, thanks for the mention. 🙂

  5. That looks so good!!! You should come over and teach Lindsay and I how to do this 😉

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