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!