This is a very versitile recipe!
We make our marinara sauce and then freeze half, or make creamy tomato basil soup with the other half. We enjoy cooking turkey Italian sausage, combining it with penne pasta, mozzerella cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake this mixture at 350, till cheese melts. Then serve it with marinara sauce over the top. Yum! You could also take this recipe and not add the basil and make it into chili by adding cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper and kidney beans. Or take the basic recipe and divide it...making half into marinara sauce and half into chili.
106 oz. large can of crushed tomatoes from Costco (it costs $2.65!)
1 head of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1 large yellow or red onion, chopped
25 fresh basil leaves, julienned or chopped
*If you don't have fresh basil you can use dried basil. About 3 tab. is a good place to start. Crush dried basil by rubbing it between the palms of your hand to release oils in it. Add more to taste if you feel it needs it.
Crushed red pepper (not the flakes....the powder) to taste. A little goes a long way...but it is a great ingredient to add...it brings a depth of flavor to this meal!
2 tsp. of salt *or to taste....just depends on the brand of tomatoes
pinch of sugar if the tomatoes have high acid content. Just taste to see if it needs a bit of sugar.
2 to 3 tab. olive oil
Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil. Add cooked onions and garlic to tomatoes in stock pot. Add basil, salt and red pepper. (also sugar if needed)
Simmer on low heat for 30 to 40 min. If you make it a day ahead...it tastes even better! You could allow it to cool and freeze half divided into freezer baggies.
If you want to make creamy tomato basil soup.....take the marinara sauce recipe and add to it:
pint of heavy cream
2 cups parmesan cheese
*plus extra parmesan cheese on top for serving. You can also put a little bit of chopped basil on top as you serve the soup....mmmm so yummy!
If you want to make chili:
Do not add the basil to the basic recipe....instead add:
3 tab. ground cumin
3 tab. chili powder
I love cumin so I taste as I go....and usually add more than this. But you can add a bit....taste it and then add more as needed.
You will already have salt and red pepper added to the basic recipe.
Also add drained, canned kidney beans. I like to add light red, dark red, and if you'd like to you could add chili beans. Also, it's fun sometimes to add white beans as well. We used canned beans, or you could hydrate dried beans, bag them up and freeze them to use in this recipe.
If you have questions let me know. Hope you enjoy! This is a great meal that is quick, easy and inexpensive to share with other families that you want to take a meal to.