I saw a recipe for roasted tomato and garlic soup and inspiration hit!
I love a simple marinara - just onions, tomatoes and garlic. But when I saw a recipe for roasted tomato and garlic soup I thought I'd try a new twist on my marinara.
Basic ingredients - parsley, onion, tomato and garlic
Plum tomatoes roasted at a low temperature for 90 minutes. It's great if your roasting pan has a rack like this one.
The first step is to slice plum tomatoes in half lenght-wise and roast them in a relatively at 300 degrees for 90 minutes. I wrapped an entire garlic bulb in tin foil and tossed it in with the tomatoes. As I often do, I roasted a lemon along with the tomatoes and garlic.
Tomatoes after roasting - this really intensified the flavor of both the tomatoes, lemon and garlic.
I found bottled chopped tomatoes at Eataly. They're the perfect consistency and taste delicious.
To season the pan, I sautee chicken, turkey and (gasp) pork meatballs. When they are browned on all sides I finish them off in the oven. I will post this recipe in the next day or two.
Place chopped oven in the seasoned pan and cook until translucent - about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Once the onions are translucent, deglaze the pan with a splash or two of red wine. This makes sure you get all the caramelized onions and meatball remnants into the sauce.
Cook the marinara at a low heat for 10 or 15 minutes. You can stop here for a simple and delicious marinara. But if you're adding the roasted tomatoes, put them in the blender with the garlic and add to sauce. Heat again for 10 minutes then let stand for several hours. Cover with tin foil.
Here's the sauce with the roasted tomatoes and garlic - I added parmesan to even out the intense flavors.
Here's the finished product.
It is actually better to have this marinara the next day and to cut the flavor with more crushed tomatoes or a good bottled marinara such as Lydia Bastianch's or Mario Batali's jarred sauces. Batali has a great cherry tomato sauce. This is the first time I've tried this recipe and when I served it that evening it was almost too intense. But when I had it 2 days later and I mixed in the jarred sauce it was amazing. This is the closest marinara to my mother's that I've come across. And like every son, I think my mother's marinara was the best.
1 12 ounce jar bottled crushed organic tomatoes
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 plum tomatoes cut in half length-wise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine
1/4 - cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 - 1 cup fat free vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
(I will post the meatball recipe in the near future to season the pan.)
Add the chopped onion to the olive oil and meatball remnant mixture.
Cook over medium heat until translucent, stirring constantly - about 10 minutes.
When onions are translucent, add the red wine to deglaze the pan.
Stir in bottled crushed tomatoes. Add a fresh lemon cut in half.
Add the oregano and parsley.
Cook for 10 - 15 minutes over medium heat stirring constantly
For a simple marinara stop here and let stand for several hours; cover with tin foil.
For the Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Lemon
Cut tomatoes in half length-wise. Arrange in a baking pan - mine has a rack to let the tomatoes stay above the drippings and not get mushy.
Wrap a whole garlic bulb in tin foil and place in pan.
Cut a lemon in half and add to pan.
Cook at 250 degrees for 90 minutes.
Remove from heat when well roasted and let cool. Pour the pan drippings into the tomato mixture.
Put the tomatoes in the blender; squeeze the garlic from the cloves; squeeze lemon into mixture.
Add the vegetable stock
Blend until just mixed - you want a rough consistency, not baby food - about 10 - 20 seconds.
Add the mixture to the sauce. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Grate cheese over mixture; cover with foil; let stand for as long as possible - at least a few hours.
I recommend putting in tupperware and storing in the fridge for at least one day.
When ready to serve, add a half bottle of your favorite jarred marinara or another half bottle of crushed organic tomatoes. Reheat until small bubbles start to form. Let stand and reheat again when ready to serve. Pour over your favorite pasta and enjoy!