Monday, February 27, 2017

Marinara Sauce in the Pressure Cooker

Mmmmm.... add a bit of cheese. Put in oven to lovingly melt .... Dip in bread.


I recently bought a ten-dollar jar of RAO Marinara sauce. It was worth it! I'm not a big fan of tomato-based sauces. For my palate, most are very acidic and "tinny." RAO was mild with lots of other flavors going on. It was great. But, at ten bucks a pop ...  that's a lot of tomatoe$.

Making a tomato-sauce can be messy. It usually simmers and bubbles for hours .... and all over your stove! So I got out my Instant Pot pressure cooker to see what I could conjure up. The result was delicious. The flavor ... wonderfully robust, not acidic, with a hearty chunky texture. And I could taste all that I had added: basil, Italian spices, onion, garlic.

It was better than RAO's

I used CERTO tomatoes for the whole and crushed. I probably added a bit more than the full cup of onions and maybe a bit more garlic. The brown sugar augments the acidity of the tomatoes and results in a beautiful, deep mahogany-colored sauce. Use a reputable and fresh blend of dried Italian spices. 

I doubt I go back to simmering and stirring a sauce for hours on end that spits up on my stove ....
  • 1, 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, broken up, CERTO brand
  • 1, 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, CERTO brand
  • 1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, TUTTAROSSA brand
  • 1/2 cup grated yellow onion including the juice
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion (I used red)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons dried Italian seasonings (start with one tablespoon)
  • 10 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 2/3 ounce (19 g) fresh basil leaves (2-3 stalks)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided

Add two tablespoons butter to Instant Pot. Place setting on saute, medium heat. When butter has melted add the onions and saute just until they begin to sweat down and begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add all the tomatoes, brown sugar, dried Italian seasonings, basil. Bring to a simmer. Add remaining two tablespoons butter. Taste for seasonings.

Turn off saute mode. Place lid on lock and push vent to seal. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Allow to release naturally. Remove lid and taste for seasonings. Add whatever more you think you need. Replace lid and pressure cook on high for another 10 minutes.

If you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to break it up.

This is a great base. Next time I may add a bit of pork, such as some pork ribs, a small pig's foot,  or some Italian sausages. A handful of fresh chopped oregano ...