Marinara Sauce de la Jenni| Suburban Foodie Original

Why make your own marinara sauce? Why not?

I’ve been cooking long enough so I decided to create my own recipe for marinara. I’ve made it a few times and made tweaks along the way. I think the final version is pretty tasty (if I do say so myself).

Just FYI. This sauce is better the next day, so the longer it sits and stews, the better.

I’ve used it in many ways ~ as the sauce in my lasagna (added sausage), as a basic sauce over penne pasta (added heavy cream), and as a braising sauce for short ribs.

Marinara Sauce de la Jenni / Suburban Foodie Original

Cook & Prep Time: 20 minutes for prep / 2-3 hours for sauce

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • liquid and dry measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of sugar

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

6 oz of tomato paste

16 oz of Marsala wine

1 medium onion (or 1/2 lg onion), diced

8 oz of beef stock

Salt & pepper

olive oil

1 lb of Italian Sausage (optional)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

Directions: 

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the following: garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil. Saute for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Add salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste. Stir until well combined. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours. The longer it simmers the better it is.

Optional items ~

Sausage: When I made the lasagna, I added 1 pound of Italian sausage. I cooked the sausage first, then added the onions and other ingredients in order as listed above.

Heavy cream: I added this ingredient last to make the sauce a little creamier!

 I will post the lasagna and the braised short ribs recipes in posts to follow.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon & Sage

AGAIN, another recipe from my Everyday Food magazine. It really is a great little magazine for quick recipe ideas (thanks, dad!). I would recommend a subscription if you are like me and can’t cook without a recipe.

I’m always looking for new recipes – I’m not very good and making up stuff. It’s just not my thing.

I love cauliflower and sage so I was very happy to give this one a try.

Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage / Everyday Food magazine

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 40 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 30 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • bowl (to hold your cauliflower florets)
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

3/4 lb of gemelli pasta (or other short pasta – I could not find gemelli so bow tie pasta wins the part). BTW, I used the entire pound of pasta.

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I bought an 8 oz pkg of bacon and I used the entire thing which is 8-9 slices).

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 medium onions, small dice

1 clove of garlic, minced/pressed

2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (I used 3 since I used the entire pound of pasta)

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. Brown until crisp – about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon move the bacon to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

Then, add to the skillet the butter, onions and garlic. Cook until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add the cauliflower, cover and cook until softened (about 12 minutes). Stir occasionally.

When the pasta water is ready, throw in the pasta of choice (you should be cooking the pasta while the cauliflower is cooking). 

When the cauliflower is tender, add the bacon and sage and cook for about 1 minute.

NOTE: Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve about a half cup of the pasta water – you will need this for the pasta sauce.

Add the well-drained pasta to your cauliflower mixture, stir in the vinegar and enough of the pasta water to make a thin sauce that coats the pasta.

Season with salt and pepper.

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Rigatoni with Broccoli & Sausage

This is another recipe from my Everyday Food magazine. We love pasta dishes in our house and this one looked super easy and tasty.

How was it? Everyone was a clean-plater (even with the broccoli!). This is a great recipe for busy nights – it took a total of 30 minutes from start to finish.

Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage / Everyday Food magazine

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (15 minutes for prepping and 15 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • zester
  • juicer
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

1 lb of rigatoni pasta

4 cups of broccoli florets – I just bought one bag of pre-cut florets

2 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed

1 lb of Italian sausage

4 anchovy fillets, minced

1 lemon – 1 tablespoon of lemon zest & 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the Italian sausage. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain. Then, throw the sausage back into the skillet – keep on low until the pasta is ready. 

When the pasta water is ready, throw in the rigatoni (you should be cooking the pasta while the sausage is browning). Then with about 2-3 minutes left on the pasta, add the broccoli florets (yep, to the pasta pot with the rigatoni!).

NOTE: Before draining the cooked pasta and broccoli, reserve about a cup of the pasta water – you will need this for the pasta sauce.

While the pasta is cooking and the sausage is browning, make the sauce. Into your small bowl, whisk together the following ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, pressed garlic, minced anchovies, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

When the rigatoni and the broccoli are done, drain thoroughly and add to the skillet with the sausage. Next add the lemon-oil mixture and the pasta water (I used about 2/3 cup).

Remove the skillet from heat and stir until you have a nice thin sauce that coats the pasta.

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Leek-y Lemon-y Carbonara

This is a recipe from my everyday FOOD magazine. I have a go-to carbonara recipe that the entire family loves (read it here.)

But, I’m willing to try a new carbonara recipe – the title got me. Leeks and lemons?

I’m a gamer.

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemons / everyday FOOD magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • large bowl
  • whisk
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • zester
  • juicer
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

1 lb of rigatoni pasta (original recipe called for campanelle or orecchiette – what? I couldn’t find either, so I went for the rigatoni).

3 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed (I added this ingredient, carbonara without garlic didn’t seem right)

4 leeks, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced (my store only had jumbo-sized leeks for some reason so I only used three)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling)

1 tablespoon of lemon zest

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain. Also spoon out the fat until there is only about 2 tablespoons of fat remaining.

When the bacon is browned, throw the rigatoni into the pasta pot. The rigatoni takes about 11-12 minutes.

In the same skillet that you used to brown the bacon, add the sliced leeks and garlic. Season the leeks and garlic with salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes or until the leeks are a golden brown.

While the leeks are sauteing, in the large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Also quickly whisk  (so your eggs don’t cook) about 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the bowl.

When the pasta is done and the leeks are done, drain the pasta well and add to the large skillet (containing the leeks).  Also, add the bacon, parsley and the egg mixture and stir quickly to coat. Remove from heat.

Season with salt and pepper as needed.

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

This version of carbonara was very well received. Maddie likes the “original” version better, but still liked this one. All others seemed to like this one as well as the other.

This one is was just as easy to fix and I will be adding this carbonara recipe to the rotation!

Chili Mac on the Stove

I tried a new dish from my everyday FOOD magazine (September 2011 issue). It sounded quick and yummy.

I did switch out one of the ingredients – I replaced the corn with diced red and yellow peppers. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of corn (canned or frozen).

What you probably don’t know about me is that I can’t stand corn in anything. I love corn on the cob, but don’t put kernels of corn in my salsa, corn bread, etc.

What happened in my childhood to make me shudder at the thought of chunks of free-range corn floating in my food? I haven’t a clue.

Stovetop Chili Mac / everyday FOOD Magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground beef

1 lb of rigatoni pasta

3 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 3/4  teaspoons of ground cumin

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes 

3/4 cup of sharp cheddar, shredded

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic (3-5 minutes).

Increase heat to medium-high to brown the ground beef. Make sure and break up the beef while cooking.

When the beef is down browning, add the cumin, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Next add the zucchini, red pepper and yellow pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

 Add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet. Let simmer for about 7-10 minutes.

Add the well-drained rigatoni to the skillet. Voila! It’s ready.

 

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, dish out the chili mac into pasta bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

What were the reviews of this dish? Well, I would say that they were lukewarm. The family thought it was tasty, but it didn’t wow ’em. 

.

Revisited ~ Broccolini & Ricotta Pasta

I originally posted this recipe on June 3, 2011.

And, I found the recipe bland and boring. So, I tried it again this week with a major tweak.

I did not use any ricotta (I guess I’ll have to give this dish another name).

I substituted the ricotta with a 12 oz tub of mascarpone cheese and a 4 oz serving of plain goat cheese.

Wow! What a difference – it was super creamy and had a really nice tangy flavor. I would really recommend trying this substitution in this dish.

Mama’s Broccolini & Ricotta Mascarpone Pasta/ Rachael Ray / 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  6-8

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • small sauce pan
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 lb of rigatoni

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

2 bundles of broccolini florets, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

15 oz tub of ricotta cheese – use full fat version or you will be sad. Trust me. (The original recipe calls for 16 oz, but they only sell ricotta in 15 oz tubs.) Use a 12 oz tub of mascarpone cheese along with a 4 oz serving of goat cheese instead

6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup of  water

Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling and add the rigatoni. It takes about 13 minutes for rigatoni to cook.

NOTE: You will need a cup (8 oz) of the pasta water for later in the recipe. Also – I only used as much of this pasta water that I needed to get the creamy consistency that I wanted.  In this mascarpone version, I only used about 1/4 to 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

In the small sauce pan, heat the 8 oz of water to boiling, add the broccolini, lower heat to simmering, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the chicken breast pieces and the garlic. Cook 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Next, add the broccolini, the cooked & well-drained rigatoni, ricotta cheese, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper and the cup of pasta water to the large skillet with the chicken. Toss until thick and creamy.

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

Give this updated version a try!

Pasta & the Old West? Try this Recipe for Cowboy Spaghetti

Okay. Yes. I was totally lazy this week when I did my menu planning! I just flipped through my Rachael Ray cookbooks. Sometimes my week doesn’t allow me to peruse all of my cookbooks looking for inspiration. I’ve got three kids, people! (Just for the record, for those families with more than three, how in the heck do you do it?).

Okay, back to Cowboys and Spaghetti. I’ve made this recipe a couple times before with good results.  I’m surprised I haven’t posted it yet.

There’s an interesting twist in the spaghetti sauce – fire roasted tomatoes. I think you’ll like it. Oh, and did I mention it has bacon in it? According to the hubs, it can’t be bad if bacon is involved.

Cowboy Spaghetti / Rachael Ray / Express Lane Meals

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground sirloin

1 lb of spaghetti

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 scallions, trimmed and chopped

3 slices of smoky bacon, chopped

1 14-oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes (diced or crushed)

1 8-oz can of tomato sauce

2 teaspoons of hot sauce (this is optional)

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

8 oz of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. Fill the  pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

In the same skillet brown the ground sirloin, crumble it as it browns. Once browned, add the onions and garlic, stirring into the meat. Cook for about 3 minutes to allow the onions to soften.

Now, add the spaghetti to the pasta pot and cook (about 8 minutes).

Season the meat with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the bacontomato sauce, scallions and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Let simmer for another 5 minutes and then add the well-drained spaghetti to the skillet. The meal is ready! 

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, place some cowboy spaghetti in a shallow pasta bowl and top with some of the sharp cheddar cheese.

This will become a family favorite in your house. Trust me 🙂