Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jalapeño Marinara Sauce




It's a rainy night in Florida.  Okay... maybe I have the state wrong, but we've had our share of summer storms lately. 

Now, I am lucky in that I get to work from home most days for my day job.  On days like this around 3 pm when I'm starting to think about what to make for dinner, I realize that outdoor grilling is probably out of the option - that is if I don't want to become a lightning rod and/or get some mosquito-borne disease that I cannot pronounce. 

By the way, remind me to pick up the pepper plant on my patio that got knocked over from the torrential downpour a few hours ago. 

I'll tell you what you make - you make a nice pot of marinara sauce which can simmer away and get all delicious while you continue to get your work done.  I did just that.  But this isn't any marinara sauce.  My sauce has a nice hint of Jalapeño pepper.  It's great over pasta, or you can make up a nice Tex-Mex style Chicken Parm.  And it freezes great, too.

Tonight I'm making a special lasagna roll up.  I am debating if I will give you that recipe or if I'm saving it for a contest. If you're really nice, I might post it here.  ;.)  You all are ALWAYS nice...

With no further adieu -  I give you Jalapeño Marinara Sauce!

Ingredients:

1 tbs. good quality olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
1 medium Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt free Italian seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1 tbs. salt free tomato, basil and garlic seasoning (Mrs. Dash again)
1 tbs. coarse sea salt 
1 can (14-15 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (with juice from can)
1 can (28 ounces) organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 packet reduced sodium concentrated chicken broth
4 or 5 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine or non alcoholic wine*
2 tbs. sweet red wine or sweet red vermouth (optional but recommended)
2 tbs. organic tomato paste
1 1/2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Add olive oil, onion, Jalapeño pepper, and garlic to a medium (but deep) sauté pan.  Add in the salt free seasoning(s) and the salt.   Cook over medium heat for about three minutes until the onions and pepper soften (but do not brown).

Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and the concentrated chicken broth.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered, for at least thirty minutes. 

Remove the pan from heat and let cool slightly.

Add the mixture to a food processor along with the basil leaves.  Carefully pulse the mixture until very lightly chunky but more on the smooth side.  You should still have a good bit of texture to the sauce.

Transfer to a sauce pan.  Bring back to a light boil; add in the wine(s), the tomato paste and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir and cover.  Reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour, longer if you have the time

*You can substitute low sodium chicken broth for the wine, but eliminate the concentrated chicken broth if you do.  The touch of sweet red wine adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce without adding any sugar.

Let cool before freezing.

Helpful tip:  Sauce not thickening fast enough for you?  Up the heat slightly and crack the lid to let steam and moisture escape.  This will help to reduce and thicken the sauce. 

Enjoy this recipe, and I'll see you soon!


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