Friday, April 23, 2010

Creamy Tomato Basil Marinara

April 21st 2010

If you have not heard enough about our love for cheese, then here is another cuisine that only reinforces why. What is not to like in Pizzas and Pastas and their relatives. What is not to like is the fact that I have not been to Italy and not even married to an Italian and that sucks. All in good time I suppose.

People who primarily like spicy food sometimes cannot appreciate Italian food. They easily dismiss it as bland. But there is so much more to food than just hot spices like the flavors you get from the Italian seasonings and the richness of cheese itself for instance. I am not a big fan of just plain marinara but I like this version and Prego's creamy sauces that you can use off the shelf.

I had leftovers of mushrooms and olives and I have used them in this recipe, but you can make the sauce plain without those and use them with any pasta you like. Additionally I skipped garlic yesterday because I did not want too many flavors as I was going to use this with the spinach-cheese ravioli from Costco.

This is quick and easy and will want you coming back for more and more.  Enough said!

Difficulty level : Easy

Time: 5 min (prep time), 10 min (making time)

  • 1/2 large onion chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 7-8 basil leaves chopped finely
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3-4 tbsps half and half or whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • a pinch of salt (to taste)
  • Italian Spices ( Oregano/Thyme/Tarragon)-optional
 Method de Preparation
  1. On medium high heat, melt butter. 
  2. Once it is done, add the onions, sauté for a few min. Add the olives and the mushrooms and sauté some more till cooked well.
  3. Add the tomato puree and allow the raw smell to go away and cook some more.
  4. Add the milk and half and half. The quantity of this can be varied depending on how thick you want your sauce to be.
  5. Add chopped basil, allow everything to come together. Savor the flavor and think of Don Corleone from Godfather. 
  6. Add the salt and cheese and turn off gas. Serve over pasta or ravioli as your please. 
  7. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning and Parmesan right before you dig in like the servers do in Italian restaurants wearing the whitest of aprons. 
Chef's Tip: Don't let sauce sit for too long, it will thicken. Try to cook pasta and start on sauce once you have dropped the pasta in the water for cooking. The timing will be about right. Go for the garlic if you are using just pasta and not ravioli.


Anju Sujith said...

hey anu... i totally agree with you non spicy food is also yummyyy! this reminds me of the first bite of the heavenly pizza i had in italy n it was totally out of the world.. my husband & i just looked at each other with the expression.. wht on earth is this? it was yummylicious..

n i am tempted to try this recipe also!

Anu Karthik said...

@ anju: thanks for leaving a note. now I want to go to Italy all the more :)

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