How to use Marinara Sauce

I was just at one of our favorite restaurants celebrating the wonderful Art Exhibit for our oldest daughter. Anyway, this restaurant has these VERY addictive garlic rolls – almost should be illegal. They are delicious with Marinara Sauce, so here some ideas on how to use this delicious sauce:

How to use Marinara Sauce

How to use Marinara Sauce

From MunchOnMe:

We all have something we particulary love:

One of my friend’s guilty pleasures is Korean BBQ.  Whenever he and some of his friends have some free time during the school quarter, they’ll run off and indulge in some Korean short ribs and bulgogi.  I think he likes rubbing it in my face that I can’t go because he likes inviting my friends to go and not me because he knows I’m a vegetarian.  Luckily it doesn’t bother me much because I find grilling onion rings and other vegetables at a place known for grilling plates of meats is kind of silly.

My dad has slowly grown a fondness of nice dishware.  Recently, he found dishware used by Palm Restaurant that he really likes.  I think it causes a chain reaction of some sort because when he buys new dishes, he cooks better (even though his food is already good to start with), and when he cooks better he cooks more often which means our dinner table is filled with a variety of new dishes to try.

My best friend and I love looking at food blogs.  The only difference is that she loves looking at pictures other people take at restaurants and I love looking at pictures that come with recipes.  When we use to dorm together, we would literally sit at our desks, backs facing each other, and just look at food blogs.  Occasionally she would poke me and point at a picture she found and tell me to make it for her.  Then I’d point to a recipe I found and tell her to make it herself.

When I think of a guilty pleasure food specifically, I think of marinara sauce.  Sometimes, because I like it so much, I’ll try to use it as a sauce for everything – from french fries to string cheese to celery sticks.  Some obviously taste better than others.  When I order pizzas, my favorite part of a pizza slice is the pockets of pizza sauce tucked under a thin layer of cheese just waiting to ooze out.  When I go to my friend’s house for dinner, the ones I remember most is spaghetti with their special batch of sauce simmering away in a pot big enough to boil a whole turkey.  And at school, it is the only food I’ll try over and over again (even though every time is somewhat disappointing) because I am convinced the spaghetti sauce will taste better the next day.

So, because it is my favorite food, I decided to find some of my favorite ways to use a simple tomato sauce.

1. For tomato sauce purists, Marcela Hazan has a very simple and rustic tomato sauce made up of canned whole peeled tomatoes, butter, and an onion.  I’ve tried it and I think the trick is having enough fat in the sauce.  Tomato-y based recipes will retain an acidic tomato flavor (I think it’s the reason why a lot of us might not like tomatoes) unless balanced out with any sort of fat like olive oil, bacon grease, or butter.  I’m not sure why and don’t think it’s the only way to counteract acidic tomatoes, but as I’m sure you have heard before: Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

2. Soup bases.  And why not?  If you think about it, a marinara sauce is made up of the same ingredients as a tomato based soup.  For some reason, this never occurred to me until I watched an episode of Giada De Laurentiis where she made a quick tomato soup out of canned marinara sauce.

3. Half and half.  That’s what we call it at school when we would like pasta topped with half marinara and half alfredo.  I am not a fan of pasta topped with only alfredo because when it cools, it congeals into a thick topping.  Mixing marinara and alfredo together makes the sauce less rich and thick and more sauce-like while still having a nice balance between cheesy white sauce and savory tomato sauce.

4. Lastly my sister likes to use marinara sauce when she makes her one-pot-meal of steamed mussels.  She cooks the the mussels in marinara sauce (which thins out when the mussels create their own salty broth) and adds some milk, herbs, garlic, and onions.  Add some crusty sliced baguette and a very french-inspired dinner is ready to serve.

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