Friday, August 10, 2012

A taste of Italy

When my husband comes home from work today, I want my house to smell like Italy (don't you?). I've been daydreaming lately of a trip we took together (with my brother in law as well), camping on the Italian coast, long before marriage. I've decided to make homemade marinara sauce in my crockpot, to assure that my entire house wafts of garlic, basil and tomatoes by dinnertime (hopefully the kind of smell you can actually detect before you even come through the front door). I love the feeling of stirring a heavy pot of italian sauces with a huge wooden spoon. It's during the preparation phase of cooking that I ask myself questions about life that I don't otherwise have time for. Where are you when you're most comfortable having these conversations with yourself? I would love to know. I'm mostly keen on such a recipe in the middle of a cold winter, or on a cool, rainy night-so save this for the fall/winter as well. Nothing is more satisfying (to me) than a big bowl of steaming pasta in the coming seasons and some quiet thoughtfulness that accompanies the creation of it.

Crock Pot Marinara (cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high):
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
a big bunch of fresh basil, chopped roughly
a big bunch of fresh oregano, chopped roughly
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
A half a cup of red wine, or as much as you feel like you can part with (some days will be more, some days less, depending on your mood of course)
3 whole bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker. Remove bay leaves when finished. This can also be packaged in glass jars and saved for later.
My husband would likely make a Spritz Campari (2 parts Campari, 3 parts flat prosecco and 1 part soda to bring the bubbles back-served with an orange wedge) if he were daydreaming of sitting in the sunshine of Italy, too.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!!


  1. This sounds delicious!! Cant wait to try it out sometime!

  2. I, literally, was just looking for a sauce recipe asking all my friends for advice. And this one sounds OH SO YUMMY! LOL, but let me ask you this, instead of the canned tomatoes could you sub fresh tomatoes? I have high blood pressure and have to stay away from anything in a can. Now its a preferance to do fresh veggies as I am sure you know and understand!

    1. Hey, girl! Most definitely! Just get bunch of tomatoes and blanche them, then remove the skins, quarter them and put them in your blender! Crushed tomatoes...viola-and with a fresh taste. You can freeze them in the post blanched, post skinned phase (quartered, before blending) and use them to make crushed tomatoes at a later date if you buy a surplus (best to do while they're in season!).
      Side note: blanching is submersing in boiling water, leaving for a short time (15 seconds) and then moving immediately to cool water-just in case you've never blanched before! Easy! Let me know how it works out!