|A little touch of sugar neutralizes the acidity in the tomatoes|
Tuesday Night Vegetable Marinara:
Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Makes: 6-8 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups zucchini and/or eggplant (if using eggplant, be sure to prepare it before adding to sauce, http://thereses-rose-garden.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-to-prepare-eggplants.html has good instructions, but I like the skin on), sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 large cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes (if San Marzanos are unavailable, Romas or other will suffice)
½ teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium. Add onion, mushrooms and zucchini or eggplant. I usually add ingredients in that order, as the onions take a little bit longer than the mushrooms to caramelize, the mushrooms take a little longer than the zucchini and eggplant to soften. Sauté until onions begin to caramelize. Add garlic and balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally until onions are fully caramelized and garlic warms and becomes aromatic (should be about 3 minutes).
|Mmm, fresh basil|
The very best thing about this sauce is the balsamic vinegar. It caramelizes when you sauté the vegetables in it and that sweetness cooks through the whole pot of sauce. It adds richness and depth usually only achieved by simmering for hours or adding cream or cheese. It’s a subtle flavor, but it goes a long way.
Serve with pasta of any kind (I prefer whole wheat spaghetti), salad and this time, I added seared spicy Italian sausages for protein, but I sometimes substitute cheese and sunflower seeds instead.
|Steaming hot and ready to eat|
Also, be aware that you need time to sear your sausages, should you choose to make the carnivore friendly version of this recipe. I simply threw mine into a frying pan with a little oil, three minutes per side.
This recipe makes a lot of sauce. You can store it in the fridge for other meals, then all have to do is cook pasta or even make crust for pizza. Or you can add it to pasta to take for lunch. Just microwave and it’s ready. Sometimes I’ll freeze the extra, have it available the next time I need it. It’s nice to have options. However, it’s also easy to just cut the recipe in half.
|Pappardelle with eggplant, sundried tomatoes and garlic at Ferdinando's|
|Although they don't serve tea, our server was kind enough to offer me a cup of hers, and it came in flowered china!|
|Not a lot of fancy decorations comes with wonderful lack of pretense in Ferdinando's|