Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back to work! Simple Pasta with Marinara

Today I started back to work so I will be posting one of my quick weeknight meals. I try to cook most nights, but I will probably try to update this blog 3-4 times a week depending on how time permits.

After making the tomato soup I had a half of a 28 oz can of tomatoes left that I needed to use up. So I decided to throw together a marinara. This is a recipe out of my head so I will do my best to be accurate and get you the steps. If I miss something or you have a question please ask. I love all of your comments and questions. I will try to address questions directly to the person that asks if you leave a means of communication, or I will compile and answer them here.


1 14 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
1 shallot or small onion, diced
1-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp herbs (any italian mixture or whatever YOU like)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 oz pasta

Get some water in a pan with some salt and get some fire under it.

Grab a shallot or small onion and as much garlic as you'd like. I'd say for those who are not obsessed with garlic, one good sized clove would work. But I am a garlic nut so I have 3. Dice these guys up.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and heat to medium and toss in the onion. Let this cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat then dump in your garlic.

The garlic should not brown, but its ok if your onions do. Reduce the heat to low and add your tomatoes.

I found some other canned tomato refugees in the back of my fridge too, so they joined the party.

This is where it gets fun. Add whatever you want! If you like mushrooms, add them! If you have some leftover chicken, add it!

I like a splash (about half a teaspoon) of balsamic vinegar in my sauce. It really brightens it up.

I have this herb mill that has Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Bay and Marjoram. You can use any Italian seasoning mix or just mix it up. I sometimes like to add a little chili powder to my sauce for a different kick. I added about 1/4 tsp of mixed herbs.

SALT AND PEPPER! Please don't forget that you need to add at least salt to almost everything, it makes a big difference. At this point give it a stir and TASTE IT! Always taste as you go.

Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.

Grab your pasta. The sauce should be enough to serve 2. I usually grab a handful of pasta as big around as a roll of quarters. This is enough and leaves a little for my pups afterward.

Throw the pasta in the pool. Just ignore your sauce, you don't need to stir or fuss with it.

When I need to check to see if my pasta is done I use the back end of a wooden spoon to grab some and pull off a strand.

Drain your pasta and give your sauce a stir. I usually let my sauce simmer for 10-20 minutes. If I have more time I let it go for about 30-40, but it is just great after 20.

It is up to you if you like to mix your pasta in the pan with the sauce and serve it that way, but I like to do it like this:

I sprinkled some grated Romano on top because cheese is delicious.

I am obviously a fan of the extreme close up.

I still have some sauce left so I will probably have some cheese toasts for lunch this week and dip those in the sauce!

Thanks again for all the comments and I am so excited I am inspiring other folks to cook!


  1. Tonight we had your tomato soup with your eggs and bacon on spinach and it was all YUMM!!! I am a tweaker - can't help myself - so I changed the can of water in the soup to a can of organic chicken broth. My husband is delighted and I'm sure will come visit your blog too. He occasionally posts a recipe on his blog.
    Thanks for the inspiration and the recipes!


  2. My mother got a bottle of balsamic vinegar and she really did not know how to use it. Know, she will know!
    Have a good night

  3. I am going to end up bookmarking ALL of these posts! Mmmmmmmmmm.

  4. Another great looking recipe. I need to get busy and make them.

  5. I've only glanced at your recipes due to my hectic schedule, but I'm off work tomorrow & I want to spend time really looking at them. They all make me hungry and look so good!

  6. Oh my goodness we just got done eating the tomato soup and cheese toast. I will never ever buy canned tomoto soup again knowing how easy (the 12 year old girl actually made it since she wanted to) and delicious this was.
    Thank you

  7. Mmmmmm, that pretty mucy how I make my marinara. I add a splash of red wine instead of the balsamic, but will have to try that.

    This is exactly what I'm making for myself tonight for dinner. I love pasta!


  8. Yum! These all look great. I am lucky that Martin and I both eat pretty much anything, but it's nice to get some new ideas.

    Katy x

  9. I am a fan of anything with balsamic vinegar.

    The best sauce I ever tasted was made by a friend of mine (with my lame help). To my surprise, she put diced carrots in it. It sweetened it up nicely.

    I am also a big cheese lover! Cheese makes everything better!