I looked out at a cloudy, drizzly, damp day this morning and thought, “Fantastic!!!”. No, I am not crazy, but here in the Deep South in August we don’t get much rain (unless there is a Hurricane). And it has dropped the temperature by about 20 degrees. Only 75 out right now and it is 2:20 P.M. Those of you in the South know how unusual this is.

It is also a perfect day to cook something for a long time….. I have tons of tomatoes.

@ 5 pounds

@ 5 pounds

(Yes, that is a a BEATLE mug hiding behind the scales! Yes! I am a child of the 60’s and still an ardent Beatle Fan. Yes, I did see them on Ed Sullivan while crying my eyes out and hugging my George Pillow!) Lots of empty jars. Oceans of Olive Oil. Pounds of onions and garlic. Plenty of time. Eureka!!! Marinara Sauce!!!! I haven’t made it in quite some time and I know my old recipe was not very good tasteless . Unfortunately I didn’t find that out until after I had put up four quarts of the stuff. After 3 years, I still have some….. So after perusing the internet for just the right recipe I decided there isn’t just ONE right recipe. None of them are the same. Emeril says, Alton says, Recipezaar says, Martha says…… Roma tomatoes, plum tomatoes, tomatoes….with onion, no onion, with fresh basil, dried basil. EVOO, reg OO…. It was enough to make one’s eyes spin and heads cross. Wait, switch that!!! Get the picture. What’s a girl to do? Simple solution, look at all the recipes and come up with one you really like. The ingredients are basically all the same, just the proportions are different. Well, maybe the glass of Diet Soda (name changed to protect the innocent brand) isn’t an ingredient, but it is an absolute necessity when I cook/bake/read/drive/teach. So while I list the amounts here, you can play around with them until you get the flavor you really like, like I did.

Marinara Sauce

    4 Tbl Olive Oil
    5 pounds peeled, cored, sliced FRESH tomatoes (this is 15 to 20 depending on the size)
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    2 onions, chopped
    4 Tbl sun dried tomatoes, chopped
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1 Tbl dried Oregano
    Pinch dried Basil (Or 10 fresh leaves)
    S and P to taste

In a deep 10-inch frying pan (or deep dutch oven) heat the olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add in oregano and basil and saute about 1 minute longer. (None of the recipes said to do this, but I have found it opens up the flavor of the herbs.) Add tomatoes and sugar. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes about 2 quarts.)

Some alternatives for you: use Italian seasoning instead of the oregano and basil. Decrease/Increase the onions, garlic. It is all up to your taste buds.

Now instead of using store-bought for your Eggplant Parmesan, or Pasta Primavera, you have your own and with no preservatives, etc.