Free to Experiment, Making Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara Sauce

One of the great things about building confidence with cooking is experimentation. Knowing that there isn’t a “right” answer, but many that are subjectively better than others is a great relief. Tonight I was looking for something simple to make for dinner. Spaghetti was among a few choices at the top of the list, but I did not have a sauce. Not wanting to make another white sauce, I figured I could try my hand at a simple red sauce. Over the weekend, I watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa where she made a simple marinara sauce. It seemed like an easy task and I was inspired to experiment. On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a big 28 ounce can of the crushed tomatoes and followed her recipe for marina sauce.

I didn’t have any parsley, so I opted for basil instead; I have some growing in my window sill. Additionally I added more pepper for a spicier result. For a fraction of the cost, I was able to make a sauce equal to or slightly better than other store bought varieties. I have had better, but this one wasn’t bad. The sauce was a bit acidic, probably because of the recipe calls canned tomatoes over fresh which I have found to be much sweeter. I’ll have to try those next time for further experimentation.

Truth be told, cooking shows make everything look so easy. That’s what they are supposed to do. People don’t like complicated. This recipe was no exception and lived up to the simplicity promised saved for one exception. When done, pouring the contents from pan to storage container can be a bit tricky and messy. Also, the sauce tends to create a mess on the stove as it cooks, as tiny drops bubble over onto the stove surface. TV doesn’t like messy and these parts are nicely edited out.

The satisfaction of making a sauce and knowing you can play with the ingredients to suit your tastes has no comparison. The minor inconveniences are far outweighed by the end results. Now I have good sauce in the fridge and freezer which can be easily heated up and enjoyed later as part of another meal.

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  1. I wonder if I made the same sauce last night! Made Ina’s spaghetti and meatballs. I did use the parsley though and wish I had used basil instead.

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