Crock Pot Marinara

Slow Cooker Marinara

Crock Pot Marinara
From Cooking Light

Alright, is anyone else getting seriously sick of this whole winter thing?  After a weekend in the Phoenix area, which was 80 degrees and sunny, I’m seriously starting to reconsider my choice to live in Chicago.  I mean, sure, about 80% of my family and friends live here, so I suppose that’s a decent reason to stay, but the idea of year round fresh produce and zero need for a coat is thisclose to winning out.

Alas, I’m not likely moving any time soon (or ever), so it’s recipes like this that get me through.  Canned tomatoes are the shining star of pantry veggies.  In fact, with 8 months of winter and generally crappy commercially grown tomatoes anyhow, sometimes cans are better than the fresh stuff.  Especially if you use San Marzanos.  Not familiar with these delicately sweet, perfectly ripe, canned plum tomatoes?  They’re becoming more and more popular, and thus easier to find in stores.  Of course, if you can get a brand that’s actually imported from Italy, all the better, but if your grocery store selection or pocket book don’t allow for that, the domestic ones are pretty good too.  We’ve swapped in San Marzanos for all our canned tomato needs, but it’s especially crucial in dishes where the tomatoes shine, such as marinara sauce.  And while jarred marinara sauce is certainly cheap and readily available, when you see how easy this homemade version is to make (and freeze), you might ditch the jar altogether.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups white onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cups carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (we used a cabernet sauvignon)
  • 3, 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes, drained (highly recommend using San Marzanos for all your whole, peeled tomato needs)
  • 3/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil, swirling to coat.  Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper.  Saute 8 minutes, or until veggies are softened.
  2. Add tomato paste and saute 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add wine, cook 2 more minutes, until liquid is nearly evaporated.
  4. Combine veggie mixture and tomatoes in a crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender, if you don’t have an immersion blender – just do it in batches and place a towel over the hole in the top to allow steam out but not sauce) to roughly blend sauce.  Stop at the consistency you like – not quite smooth, but no big chunks.
  6. Add the basil and pulse with immersion or regular blender a few times to incorporate.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Return mixture to slow cooker and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Serve, store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.  We froze it in 3 cup batches, since that’s the equivalent of 1 jar.

Makes 6 cups.

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