Cheatin’ on Marinara

18 Jan

A good marinara can be the difference between an okay pasta dish and an amazingly delicious meal. And there have been times that I have let a sauce simmer on a stove for three hours before using it in a dish that is baked for an additional hour. But some days, I don’t have four hours to devote to a meal. In fact, I nearly have around 30-40 minutes each night from the time I get through the door to get dinner on the table to eat and enjoy before we’re off to something that night.

So I like to cheat on marinara.

Okay, so seriously, I love to make this homemade sauce that tastes like it took much more effort and time. To begin, grab a can of petite diced tomatoes, and drain some of the excess juice. Probably somewhere around 1/4 cup. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the juice to a medium pot.

Next add 1/4 cup of diced onions.

Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp basil, and 1/2 tsp onion powder.

Then the cheat…add 1/2 cup of your favorite jarred tomato sauce. Let  the sauce simmer while you create the rest of your meal – whether it be noodles, meat, etc.

Five minutes before serving, stir in a slurry of 1 part water to 1 part cornstarch. Don’t add to much otherwise you’ll end up with a pink sauce! Better to add a little of the slurry at a time until you arrive at the thickness you like.

If you plan to finely blend your sauce, turn off the burner and pour the sauce into the blender. Return to the pan to keep the sauce warm until ready to eat. Either put it on a low setting, or turn burner off and cover. In our house, we love tomatoes, so we don’t blend the sauce together. For me, tasting the individual pieces of tomato makes it more homemade.

If you want to make a meat sauce, now is the perfect time to add your pre-cooked ground beef, or in this case ground turkey.

Even without meat, this sauce is the perfect canvas for your favorite flavors. Experiment with different varieties by adding red pepper, or mozzarella cheese, or even using a can of tomatoes that already has seasoning in it. Any way you do it, it sure beats the long wait of the usual homemade sauce!

2 Responses to “Cheatin’ on Marinara”


  1. Pierogie Casserole – A Unique Take on Meat & Potatoes « Dish Dash Dime - January 21, 2012

    […] used my recipe for quick marinara in this recipe. After adding the meat, you’re reading to assemble your dish. First, place […]

  2. Chicken Sausage Pasta « Dish Dash Dime - January 24, 2012

    […] batches of sauce and saving them in small containers for easy use. However, you can always use my marinara cheat or a jarred sauce if you’re short on time. If you are making a fresh sauce, reserve about 1/2 […]

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