I have always been afraid of making marinara sauce from scratch – like from ACTUAL tomatoes. Scary stuff. I mean, what if I buy all those tomatoes and screw it up?? I’m Norwegian, not Italian – how could I possibly make a good “gravy”!?
While marinara made with a can of crushed tomatoes is delicious, I felt it was time I face my fear and make it from scratch. And, of course, I also wanted to incorporate my beloved therapeutic-grade essential oils into the recipe to see how it enhanced the flavor.
The sauce took me a few hours to make, because I took my time (and took photos as I went along), so you will want to plan ahead to make this on a day where you have some free time. Those of you with small children are thinking, “free time, what the hay-hay is that??” If you have small children…I am sorry…maybe you should save this recipe for another 12 years and then give it a try! Seriously though, I think you can pull this off if you start cooking right when the kiddos go down for a nap. I believe in you.
I will spare you the annoyance of reading each step between each photo. I used to do that, and now understand how annoying that is!!
Feel free to browse the photos below, which are in the order of each step of the recipe. Some people feel better if they can see how it is supposed to look along the way. So, enjoy the beauty of these colorful fresh ingredients!:
ROASTED MARINARA SAUCE
- 25 Roma tomatoes, cored
- 2 sweet vidalia onions, quartered
- 2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves peeled (see note in the recipe for “Easy Peeling”)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt (preferably Pink Himalayan)
- 1/4 C sugar or “Date Paste” (See Recipe for “Date Paste” in the Pizza Crust recipe at the bottom of this blog)
- Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
- 3 cans tomato paste, for thickening
- 2 drops Oregano essential oil (therapeutic grade only, with “Supplement Facts” on bottle – comment below for my favorite brand)
- 4 drops Basil essential oil
- 2 drops Black Pepper essential oil
- 4-6 pepperoncinis, for a little heat
- *Optional: 1/4 cup dry red wine, diced carrots
Preheat oven to 425F.
Wash and core the tomatoes. Split them between two 9×13″ baking dishes, or put all of them in a large roasting pan. The tomatoes can be left whole; they will break down during the roasting process.
“Easy Peeling” of garlic cloves. Toss a few garlic cloves in an empty, clean, glass jar, screw the lid on, and shake vigorously for a minute. The peelings should become loose so that you can just peel it off of the clove. Don’t overload the jar, only a few cloves at a time. Cut off the hard ends of the garlic cloves.
Arrange the quartered onions and peeled garlic cloves (and diced carrots, if using) around the baking dish with the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over all and then use your hands to toss the tomatoes, garlic and onions to coat everything well with the oil. Season everything generously with salt.
Roast tomatoes in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or so. The tomatoes and onions will look wrinkled, roasted, and slightly charred. For a thicker sauce, cook longer and stir occasionally to keep from burning.
Remove the pan(s) from the oven and set on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes. You can easily remove the tomato peelings if you want, but I left them on.
Place a large colander inside a large bowl. Pour the roasted tomato ingredients into the colander. The bowl underneath the colander will collect all the juice. You need this juice for later – don’t toss it!
Scoop the roasted tomato ingredients into a blender or food processor. Add parsley, and most of the basil leaves (save a few to shred and top your final pasta dish as a garnish). Puree until it reaches your desired consistency. You may need to do it in separate batches if you have a small food processor.
Put about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or stock pot. Warm on medium heat, and then toss in the diced shallots. Cook until they are soft.
Dump the pureed tomatoes, and the reserved juice, into the pot. Season with additional salt, if needed. Add the essential oils and any herbs you might want to add to the sauce to flavor it to your liking. Add the pepperoncinis and cans of tomato paste. If you are using red wine, add that to the pot as well. Mix thoroughly. I had to use a whisk to make sure the thick tomato paste was dispersed throughout the sauce.
Simmer on low, covered, for an hour or longer, so that all the flavors blend well together. The longer the simmer, the better the flavors will be. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
Serve immediately as pasta sauce, or on homemade pizza (Click here for the pizza crust recipe that I also used as garlic bread with this meal. For garlic bread, I just rubbed olive oil all over the dough and sprinkled generously with garlic salt and then baked it). You will also find the “Date Paste” recipe within the pizza recipe.
Or, you can cool all of it completely and freeze it in containers or Ziploc bags for later use as a quick meal!
FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal. Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where. The oils I use give full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity. They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade, and extremely potent. If you would like to use this brand, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
**[PLEASE NOTE: According to the compliance rules of the FDA, I am unable to disclose my favorite oil company’s name in the body of this blog, but you can comment below with your email address, and I’ll send you the link, along with some great educational materials on essential oils.]