Monday, April 25, 2011

Smooth and Tasty Marinara Sauce (aka Five Minute Marinara Sauce)

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 eats on $6/day.

You may have heard me mention--oh, a time or two--that my children (and often husband) do not like "chunkies." Chunkies are anything that gives a dish a little texutre--chopped onions, oatmeal, nuts, tomatoes, dried fruit, seeds--you get the picture. Therefore when we eat spaghetti sauce, it is requisite that it have no chunkies. Since I'd prefer for my kids to top their pasta with tomato sauce rather than butter, it's a battle I don't choose to fight. Also their father is on their side, which leaves me rather soundly out-numbered. Also, even though this isn't my number one favorite ever pasta sauce, it's pretty darn good.

And while we're talking about picky people, let me get a confession out here on the table. In college I was very careful with my fats and calories--too careful, way too careful, rude kind of careful. I did not often eat dinner with my roommates (they must have been relieved), but one night I was home and they were having pasta and I was invited. It was sweet and delicious and my roommate--who, for the record, was the nicest person in the universe, ever--revealed that she had put a little sugar in it. I freaked out. Why, I asked, would anyone knowingly add, like, 25 calories to something that previously did not have 25 calories. I didn't say it quite like that, but something along those lines. I am not sure I finished my food. My roommate should have stuffed it up my snooty little nose. But she didn't. Of course the great irony in my behavior and attitude is that each week I ate tons of Hunt's $.99 pasta sauce (pasta was one of my 3 main college staples), which surely had more than a few calories worth of high fructose corn syrup in it. So, Amber, I'm sorry. I hadn't yet come into my own; I was young and foolish, and I didn't then know what good food tasted like. I will rectify that attitude tonight, as I now know that a little sugar adds a nice contrast to the acid-y bite of tomatoes.

Smooth and Tasty Marinara Sauce
Makes 60 oz.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cost: $2.95
(tomato sauce: 2.40, paste: .50, my pesto is homemade; I've no idea how much it costs; other stuff: .05)

2 cans plain, unsalted tomato sauce, 29 oz.
1 can tomato paste
3-4 Tbsp pesto (alternately, you can use 2 handfuls of basil and 1 clove of garlic)
2 Tbsp sugar (brown or white both work)
1/2 Tbsp salt (if using salted tomato sauce, omit completely)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes.


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