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crock pot marinara (post 9 of a 52 recipe resolution)

April 2, 2013

crock pot marinara

“I can’t take on one more thing.” were the words I said to Mike late one night last week.  Between working, trying to train for a half-marathon, trying to get my Mom’s house sold and packed and her moved, maintaining friendships and volunteering, I was almost to the breaking point.  My plate is too full I said.  Mike’s ever practical response was “Make a list and lets decide what I can take.”  Viola!  I didn’t feel the weight of the world on my shoulders anymore.  That is until I got a text from my brother saying that the paramedics had been called for my Mom.  So much for a lighter load.  It’s an ongoing health problem (with details that we don’t need to talk about just ahead of a great recipe) that over the last 8-10 months has resulted in passing out and paramedics three times plus intermediate bouts of illness.  Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at the doctor with her and we left with a list of tests that will be done later this week.  After leaving my mom and sitting in traffic for almost 90 minutes to get home I was very grateful for crock pot marinara, and let’s be honest, a glass of wine.  All I had to do was cook some spaghetti.

The original version of this recipe was from Cooking Light but I tinkered with it to suit the season (canned plum tomatoes instead of fresh) as well as my taste (spice adjustment).  To me marinara is a hard sauce to master because there isn’t ground meat or sausages to hide behind, it’s just vegetables and spices.  I decided the test for me to consider this recipe a success would be 1) obviously enjoying my dinner, and 2) how much I thought about it the next day.  Do I wish I was going to be home for dinner so I could enjoy the left-overs?  The answer is yes, I really wish I could, but I’m going to be packing boxes with my Mom instead.  I loved the how the sauce wasn’t all pureed, there was texture from the onions, carrots and celery and there was just a little back ground bite from the crushed red pepper.

You can do all the prep work for this (up to mixing everything together in the crock pot) the day before.  Refrigerate the sautéed veggies if you make them in advance.

Crock Pot Marinara
adapted from Cooking Light

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced garlic
1-1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
6 oz tomato paste (divided)
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 – 28 oz cans plum tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 – 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Ad oil and swirl to coat the pan.  Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper).  Saute 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 3 ounces tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add wine and cook 2 minutes or until the liquid almost evaporates.

Pour all three cans of tomatoes into the crock pot and break them up with a wooden spoon.  Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.  Place 4 cups of cooked sauce into a blender.  Remove the top center piece of the blender lid and place lid on blender.  Cover the center opening with a clean towel and blend sauce until smooth.  Return mixture to the crock pot.  Add remaining tomato paste, basil (fresh and dried), salt and pepper.   Cook on high, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

crock pot marinara

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2014 2:40 pm

    Woot, I will celanitry put this to good use!

  2. Mike Dunham permalink
    April 3, 2013 9:10 am

    The great thing about this recipe is that you could use the leftovers for a great Puttanesca-esque sauce. By sauteing garlic, kalatama olives, an anchovie (or 2) and some capers, this would layer really nicely! And we just started using some canned tomatoes from Whole Foods that have no citric acid in them, just tomatoes and they are the most amazing carmine color with a wonderful taste! I’m looking forward to making this over the weekend.

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