Homemade marinara sauce is incomparable to store-bought sauce. The ingredients are perfectly blended to give you a herby, tomato-y sauce packed with flavour, and all of the ingredients are easy to come by. You can add a cup of cream if you like, and I tend to alternate. With ravioli, I add cream. With meatballs and spaghetti, I leave it out. It’s entirely up to you. I use both tinned whole tomatoes and fresh baby tomatoes. When the baby tomatoes burst, they release a wonderful flavour that’s tastier than large tomatoes.
Marinara sauce is versatile and doesn’t have to be limited to pasta. You can use it in casseroles if you want a tomato-based flavour and it makes a wonderful tomato soup. I’ve used it on meatloaf many times, or blitz it in the food processor and serve with a ciabatta as a soup. Once you’ve made this sauce, you will realise its potential to be used in many different dishes and it’s easy! Like, super mission-free and takes a total of half an hour.
500g baby tomatoes
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh parsley for garnishing
Mozzarella for sprinkling (optional)
1 cup cream (optional)
Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
Making it happen:
1. Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the garlic, onion and oregano and fry for 5 minutes.
2. Add the baby tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn down the heat, add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes, with the lid on for the first 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
OPTIONAL: Stir in the cream. Top the dish with mozzarella and fresh parsley.
3. The sauce boils down, with the baby tomatoes bursting and releasing their flavour.
Serve with a variety of food – in this case meatballs and spaghetti.
During the week, we try to eat healthily. Our usual menu consists of something like chicken breasts with steamed spinach and broccoli or fish with roasted zucchinis and mushrooms. However, I often get bored of cooking (and eating) the same thing but in the quest for fewer carby, fatty meals, I regularly find myself at a bit of a loss for what to cook.
I love mince, but I associate it with spaghetti bolognaise (yum) and lasagna (yummier) but for the past few months I’ve been making meatballs and serving them with veggies like roasted butternut and green (bell) peppers (I’ve also served them with mashed potatoes which is very yespleaseandthanks) . These meatballs are really tasty and I look forward to cooking (and eating) them every week! They’re easy to make, like super easy – put everything into a food processor and mix, and only takes 15 – 20 minutes in the oven. I don’t fry them, I put them directly into a baking dish and cook them for 15 minutes. It’s that easy! If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this pretty quickly, see instructions by hand.
Makes 12 Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
500g lean beef mince
1 sachet/50g tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Method if using a processor:
Cut the onion in half and blitz it for a few seconds in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the mince, blitz for a few more seconds until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until well combined. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in two batches. Put one large tablespoon’s worth of mince mixture into your hand and roll to form a ball.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on your oven and how you like your balls.
Method by hand:
Halve and slice the onion thinly. In a large bowl, add the mince and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly until well combined. I’ve done it this way a few times (it was a very dark time in my life when my food processor broke and I had to wait a month to replace it) and I found it much easier to mix the ingredients with my hands instead of using a spatula. Sorry if that grosses you out; they were clean, promise!