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Monday, August 18, 2014

How To Make Fresh Marinara Sauce

I love TOMATOES fresh picked from the GARDEN...

Then when they come on, WOW... THEY COME ON! So you've got to come up with IDEAS for all these TOMATOES!

Related Recipe: 
"Zoodles" of Squash Noodles (Gluten Free)

Well, I have a recipe BELOW that's WONDERFULlY FRESH, but it also freezes great too! So, if you have an abundance of fresh GARDEN TOMATOES... you can make some now, and then even freeze some sauce for later.
If not, YOU might GO SHOPPING for TOMATOES & RED PEPPERS, and then make fresh marinara any time you like!

Red Peppers: ROASTING TIPS - Preheat oven to 500°F. Core and cut peppers in half. In a glass bowl, oil pepper skins and flesh with olive oil. Oil a small, foil-lined baking sheet, and roast skin-side up for 30-45 minutes, until peppers until charred. Remove from oven, and place under the glass bowl (to steam) and loosen the skins. Once cool, the skins will come off easily. Reserve until needed.

Skinning Tomato Tip: 
Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and score each little bottom with a 1-inch-sized X. Scald in hot water; I love my cordless (glass) kettle for this purpose, watching the little tomatoes dance, and a pot on the stove works. Plunge the tomatoes in cold water and the skins pull right off - slick. 

Cut in half and be sure to REMOVE the acidic juice and seeds. Don't forget*

Serving Suggestions: To preserve the freshness, simply warm through and DO NOT OVER-COOK or OVER-HEAT the sauce, thus retaining the fresh flavors. Serve over hot pasta and meatballs or lasagna. Great dipping sauce for bread sticks. 

(Years ago) The Olive Garden's Venetian Chicken, USED to be marinated, grilled & topped with a fresh RED MARINARA sauce.

Plus they ALWAYS served this secret fresh sauce to dip your bread sticks in little tin cups; remember that years ago?

It was always sooo delicious! The sauce the chicken, the whole shebang! So OKAY... if you already KNOW ME (or MAYBE you've just met ME), well then let me say this...

Even though their Venetian Apricot Chicken of (today's menu) is of no secret, however...

I've cloned their secret MARINARA SAUCE recipe
(back from twenty years ago!)

Note: Didn't photograph the cracked pepper, and chose to blend in xanthan gum later.
Venetian Marinara Sauce

Makes: 12 servings (3 quarts)

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 sweet red peppers, pre-roasted
2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
4 (15-oz) cans crushed tomatoes
in puree, or 2 (29-oz) cans
2 Tbsp quality balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp sweet fresh basil,
or 5 tsp dried basil
2 tsp sugar, (depends on tomatoes) more needed 
or Whey Low Granular
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper, freshly ground

1 tsp xanthan gum, helps with runniness

Marinara Sauce: In a large stockpot, pour in the tomato puree, balsamic vinegar and add the peeled fresh tomatoes, plus prepared onions and garlic; blend until smooth with my favorite stick blender until smooth, by Cuisinart. 

Using my handy-dandy mini-food processor attachment for my onions and garlic (not pictured). Blend into sauce.

Mini-food processor, add roasted pepper, basil, seasoning mix. Pulse until chunky and STIR into the pot. Otherwise chop and mince by hand. 

Next, stir in the sugar, salt & cracked pepper, to taste. Finally, we prefer the sauce just warmed through, retaining the fresh flavors.

This sauce freezes beautifully in (zip-bags) label and date.

*Both the SEEDS & JUICE are very acidic and so your sauce would be too, if you forgot to remove them. Worse it will separate and be runny too. Don't worry, I've forgotten to remove the seeds and juice myself too - and it's MY RECIPE, hahaha!

You NEED NOT fret (simply get your pantry stocked!) 


  1.     Counteract the acidic flavor, by adding 2-Tbsp sugar to balance it out to taste.
  2.     If there is LOTS of separation and runniness, did you forget to remove the juice and seeds? (I've forgotten - and it's MY RECIPE.) Try blending in a bit more xanthan gum, see if that helps
  3.      A sure fire fix is to SLOWLY sprinkle a small amount of Ultra Gel - Instant, Gluten-Free Thickenerhttps://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fir-na.amazon-adsystem.com%2Fe%2Fir%3Ft%3Dkneanyins-20%26l%3Das2%26o%3D1%26a%3DB00910LUQS&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*, stir and wait 5 minutes for it to reach it's full thickening power. 
Ta Da! All that work & LOVELY SAUCE is now saved!!!

For more Info on this blog, click on this link GREAT Thickeners.
Plus check out my old website: http://sharonanne.com/mfs_chart.htm 

Sharon Anne

So what do you think? How do you serve your favorite Italian red sauces and what with?

You're welcome to share your comments.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Zoodles" of Squash Noodles

Photo Credit: SimpleLifeBlog.com 

Have you heard 
about "Zoodles"? 


Related Recipe:  Venetian Marinara Sauce

Well, I wanted to share my "ZOODLE EXPLOITS", but as luck has it, neither the good neighbor I that trade produce with or I had any READY today. So, I grabbed a crookneck squash and gave it a whirl (instead) with GRAND RESULTS!

While researching for a "Zoodler" machine - I looked online and FOUND there are a number of ways to achieve this effect, both by hand and by cranking by machine; (I chose the latter).

The consensus seemed (to me) that the MOST EFFECTIVE system for the money was: ta, ta ta tadada da... THE

Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer

I am having just a ball and my wonderful "ZOODLES" 
are absolutely DELICIOUS!
Disclaimer: Okay, maybe I better explain. My daughter would say THIS, "Could it be because you're GLUTEN-INTOLERANT? After all you have NOT eaten any wheat pasta in over 2 1/2 years!"

Well, then all more reason for my EXCITEMENT! (Don't you agree?)

BTW: This very same non-GF daughter usually takes; 2nd helpings. She likes them every bit as much!


(No pun...) Being they are low cal, low carb!

Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer

First off, press down on each corner to engage the suction cups. Go ahead and cut the ends off of your squash. Next firmly anchor it to the spindle. Now gently "push" with the lower (guide) handle with your LEFT HAND, (while) you gently "crank" with your RIGHT HAND.

Finally, as "Zoodles" of squash noodles are being extruded out the other end, YOUR cleverness and diligence is thus REWARDED.

See at these GREAT spiral-cut squash strands, some almost 2' long! 

I have found in "Zoodling" (yes, I'm having fun!)... that MEDIUM-sized squashes are best, especially for crookneck. Smaller ones are okay, but require additional squashes per person. LARGE-sized squashes have LARGE, dense seeds that gum up the works, Cutting them won't make the long spiral "Zoodles" strands you want.

These seeds are fine, AND note the machine conveniently traps them. 

We serve one medium squash person, but we have additional sides; if that's all you ARE eating, then (by all means) whirl out two.

Now to DISENGAGE the machine, simply lift the four LITTLE TABS on individual suction cups.

It's Time To Disassemble The Machine For Cleaning:

Under WARM WATER, use a (dish brush) and EASILY rinse any vegetable roughage off the machine!


There are several ways of preparing the squash noodles:

1) SALTING/ reduces water & later wash away salt.
Step 1: Place the spiraled squash into a colander or wire strainer, generously toss with salt until the strands are lightly coated. Let that sit  (with a bowl sitting on top - as weight - for  20-30 minutes) to remove the EXCESS WATERRinse with running water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.

Now you have 2 CHOICES: either now saute the saute the noodles OR for  AL DENTE noodles return them uncovered colander IN the fridge for 1-2 MORE HOURS. This allows the strands to DEHYDRATE all the more. (Your choice.)

2) BLANCHING / stops the enzyme actions, retains flavor.

Dip the strands of squash in a colander of boiling water for 30 seconds, the plunge into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Saute as directed below.

3) SAUTEING / until tender-crisp.
In olive oil, saute the squash to your liking with lightly salt & pepper. 

Make SURE you serve your YUMMY "ZOODLES" & fresh tomato sauce in a BOWL, because simply sauteing (w/o salting or blanching) creates a ton of juice, and I mean a TON of YUMMY juice! (...that is long as your sauce is very yummy!)  It's your call.

As for me... I actually don't mind it. (For example) Recently, I LOVED my recently garden fresh sauteed zucchini "ZOODLES", which tasted so AMAZING, but I admit the amount of JUICE they produced was a rather SHOCKING at first. In fact, I thought something went wrong with my fresh tomato marinara sauce recipe! After all.. I'd forgotten to deseed the tomatoes, that time any way! So I was SURE IT was my FAULT! Then we determined the sauce was fine served over wheat pasta, Thereafter, I learned the additional steps to reducing the water and even more, which is what inspired this post! 

4) SWEATING / BEST WAY to reduce water.

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°F. 
  2. Wash and peel your zucchini squash. 
  3. Insert the ⅛-inch slicing disc into your spiral slicer. Place 1 squash on the prongs and line up the de-seeding hole in the middle of the end of the squash. Turn the crank until you’ve reached the end and have beautiful noodles! 
  4. Alternatively, use a julienne slicer to cut thin strands of zucchini. Once you’ve reached the seeds in the middle, flip the squash over and start again until you’ve reached the seeds from the other side. Discard the center portion with the seeds. 
  5. Place the noodles on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. 
  6. “Sweat” the noodles in the oven for 30 minutes until the paper towels have absorbed most of the moisture that the zucchini let. Wrap the paper towels over the noodles and give them a good squeeze to extract any remaining liquid.* 
  7. The noodles will be drier but not soft after step 6 so you will want to cook them further at this point. Add them into your sauce and let them simmer for about 10 minutes for al dente, or 15 for soft and silky. 
*Zucchinis hold a lot of moisture and will make dishes watery, if you add them in uncooked, Step 6 step helps to eliminate that.

sourceAUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com


Smothered in a rich Venetian Marinara Sauce, made with 
fresh GARDEN TOMATOES and roasted RED PEPPERS and 
(gluten-free) Italian Meatballs, BUT you would have NEVER KNOWN,  had I not told you so!


Hope you ENJOYED THIS POST, because I've so enjoyed this spiral cutter since I've not been able to eat wheat pasta for nearly 3 years. It's broadened my choices greatly, but it does so much more that "Zoodles"! 

That's just the BEGINNING! 

Most Warmly,

Sharon Anne

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