Thursday Cooking Adventure: Marinara Sauce

I do have post ideas floating around, including one fashion post on some wonderfully tall boots I managed to purchase for only $25 that actually FIT my 19 inch calves, updates on the Halloween Costume-Making endeavor for this year and thoughts on various fatty-relevant news of late.  However, I’m still rebooting from a lovely weekend in Maine (more to come on that too!) and so for this week I’m feeling good to at least have a cooking adventure to share… and this one is up early enough for any of my readers across the pond who might be catching it in the afternoon on Thursday… just as I’m about to head to bed late on Wednesday 🙂

standing at the sink in the kitchen

Surprised in mid-cookery

The Adventure

So, I still seem to be on a pasta kick of late (despite the fact that I SHOULD be using up the ever-growing collection of potatoes I have on hand).   This time I was moved to make something quick and easy that would use up some of the copious numbers of tomatoes I also have lying around!

I *wanted* to make this pasta to go with the grass-fed local bit of highly over-priced beef short ribs that I simply seasoned and baked at 375 degrees until the thermometer read “rare”.  However I am still not a master of the dinner timing with certain meals and thus the pasta was ready long before the ribs.  That is fine.  We just had the ribs after a “first course” of some pasta!

juicy seasoned beef short ribs

That was some interesting tasting but, Adam D declared "yummy", beef short rib! (Oh and I'm not bleeding at the finger-tip...that's red dye from our fun Halloween Costume making adventure...)

So, this short and rather simple recipe is a creation of my own head and is usually how I get a lot of simple dinners going.  This time, though, instead of using a can of sauce as a base, mostly because I didn’t HAVE a can and, as indicated previously, I had a plethora of tomatoes just waiting to be eaten, so I used the fresh tomatoes for the base.

I like to start a pan warming and then add a bit of oil.  Once that is warm I usually add in the garlic and/or onions.  However, I did run into a bit of a problem when I left the oil on a TAD too long and then, when I added the garlic, a few bits sautéed themselves right OUT of the pan and onto the electric burner.  Where I quickly learned that garlic? Is flammable.  Yeah.  No shit.  flammable as all get out!  I…don’t have a picture of this sparkling wonder.  Maybe some day?

Adam D helpfully called out from the living room at about this point: “Is something…on FIRE?? I just saw flashes of light!”  No dear.  Things are…fine!

After rinsing out the pan and drying it to start again I paid closer attention after adding the oil (olive this time as that is what I MEANT to add the first time; maybe the overlords of oil consumption were watching out for me and burned my first batch of garlic on purpose, deeming garden-variety Canola oil too banal for this particular recipe??).  The second time went fine.

So, once the garlic was cooked a bit (read: unburnt), I added the 3 large chopped tomatoes to the pan and got them cooking nice and hot.

pan of tomatoes

There's garlic under that mass of tomatoes too!

I added at this point the spices that pretty much make up the bulk of my seasoning experiences: Season Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder.  They pretty much never fail to make things delicious!  In fact that is all I put on those short ribs as well and, despite the fact that the meat tasted a bit like shellfish to me for some reason (maybe I’m getting sick?); Adam D declared them delicious!

my favorite spices

My three favorite spices

rare meat with spices

Cooked to rare in a 375 degree oven with only my spices to deliciously flavor them

So, while the tomatoes were bubbling away I got water boiling for some pasta.  Then I added a can of mushrooms to the tomato mix.  I love mushrooms so they usually sneak their way into most everything I make! I also added a bit squirt of my newest craze, the refrigerated tubes of seasonings. Nothing like making fart-noises during dinner preparation to get you into a tasty frame of mind…

add mushrooms and seasonings

Expensive little tubes but the flavor is worth it to me

As the pasta was nearing completion (and the ribs were barely starting their cook-time in the oven); I decided that I wanted the marinara to be a bit more rich and added a dab of salted butter.  Rather than go with cream and make it a creamier sauce I felt like keeping the basic marinara feel.

butter in the sauce

Add a good dab of butter... oh yea!

Lastly I always add the rest of that stick of butter to a full two boxes worth of pasta (We like having leftover lunches) and again spice things up so that the pasta itself holds some good flavorful spices, with just a shimmery hint of butter for them to cling to.

butter and spices about to coat the pasta

I wait for this to get all melty and then dump the drained pasta back in. Or you can chop the butter into chunks instead so as to quicken the process!

Once incorporated, the pasta is delicious just on its own!  Oh and yes, I did mix two strange kinds of pasta together.  Adam D loves those tri-color wheel things and I love the mini penne.  So since we were both sort of unwilling to compromise; I threw them BOTH into the water…um…kinda win?

gleaming pasta

Pasta should always be delicious in it's own right; even before adding a tasty veggie sauce!

To finish things off you can either add Parmesan cheese or not, as your preference dictates.  I love a dash of the cheese but Adam liked it just as-is.

with cheese and without

Some like cheese, some like it plain. It was rather tasty either way!

All told?  The pasta part was complete (even with the garlic burning mishap) in the time it took to get the water for the pasta boiling and the pasta cooked.  So meals like this tend to be my favorite for days when I just don’t feel like spending 3 hours trying to make french fries or something!!

The Recipe: Marinara Sauce


  • 3-4 large Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can Mushrooms, drained
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Garlic
  • Italian Seasonings, Season Salt, Garlic, Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Salted Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped *Optional: my version was sans onion this time*
  1. Heat a splash of Olive Oil (about 2 tbsp) in a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat
  2. When warm, add your garlic and saute until it smells yummy
  3. If using onion, add to the pan at this point and cook until translucent
  4. Now, add all of those lovely tomato chunks and cook until they are bubbling away and falling apart
  5. Add your seasonings until it tastes about right
  6. Put the drained mushrooms in and mix everything well so tomatoes and mushrooms are well-distributed
  7. Add that hunk of butter and make sure to stir it in evenly
  8. Serve over the cooked pasta of your choice (spiced and/or buttered to your preference) and enjoy with (or without) some shredded cheese on top!
the finished marinara

The finished sauce, all hot and ready for its pasta companions!


2 thoughts on “Thursday Cooking Adventure: Marinara Sauce

  1. Great Scott, I thought you’d put Honeycomb cereal in with your pasta. >.< MUST read more carefully.

    I love a good marinara, but unfortunately, it doesn't love me. I've inherited this weird genetic tic that makes tomato taste like metal and swells up my tongue. Weird, huh? hard for hubby to accept, being the southern boy he is, and thereby one who loves growing tomatoes in the summer. Pah.

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