Since I snagged such a great deal on those canned organic tomatoes the other day I decided to make a quick marinara that is both easy and cost efficient. If you have the dried spices or fresh herbs at home and you want just the basic sauce, all it will cost you is the price of a can of tomatoes and a package of your favourite pasta. Of course, with marinara you can add almost anything – shrimp, zucchini, carrots, capers, olives, spinach, and whatever else is handy that you think might add to the flavour. That’s the great thing about this sauce – it tastes great just on it’s own but you can change it up each time you make it. If you can, use fresh herbs with this because it really enhances the flavour.
I found something new this week, well, new to me, anyway – caper berries. They are those olively looking things in the picture below. I have used capers before (love them!) but had never seen caper berries. They are much larger and come with stems. They are brined in vinegar and taste salty; much like a milder olive. I thought they made a nice addition.
Creating this dish is as simple as opening a can, boiling some water, sautéing your onions and garlic and adding some herbs. Done! While your sauce cooks for 15 minutes you can prepare anything you would like to toss in at the end – clams, chipotle peppers, black beans, leftover, minced roasted vegetables – even some non fat plain Greek yogurt to make a rose’ sauce. If you don’t like chunks of tomato in your food, toss it in the blender before serving.
You will find this sauce a little different than other marinaras because I don’t add tomato paste (hate it!) or tomato sauce. I like to keep this dish as simple and clean as possible and the pasta soaks this up beautifully.
This sauce traditionally calls for a lot of garlic so naturally it’s a favourite for me. I used 5 cloves but I’m sure that’s too much for most folks. The simplicity of this dish really allows you to enjoy the distinct flavours in each bite and I hope it will become a favourite of yours too. Cheers!
- 1 lb rice pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, penne)
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (organic if you can get it)
- ¼ cup basil, chopped
- 3 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar or 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- small handful of parsley, chopped
- dash of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in frying pan, add onion and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat until simmering gently for 15 minutes.
- Add pasta and mix until it has absorbed the sauce.
- shrimp, mushrooms, caper berries, and zucchini to name a few.