Gluten Free Chicken Piccata Quick Toss

Do you love Chicken Piccata?  Get all the big restaurant flavor of this classic dish with a few shortcuts that will have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, minus the gluten!

Diced chicken tenders replace cutlets in this express recipe.  Perfect for those busy weeknights when you just want to get dinner on the table, tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours! ❤️

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. chicken tenders, cut into chunks
  • 6 oz. gluten free pasta
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided plus more for finishing
  • 4 tsp. butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. small capers (more if you like)
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • grated cheese

Preparation:

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, drain and set aside.

Use a large stainless-steel skillet to brown the chicken in 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Don’t crowd the pan, if it doesn’t fit then make 2 batches.

Notice the chicken isn’t quite cooked through at this point, it will finish in the sauce at the end.

Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside, keep warm.  Add the remaining 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.

Be ready with the wine, lemon juice and chicken broth.  Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and garlic and whisk continuously.

Drizzle the liquid into the pan as you continue whisking.

Return the chicken and pasta to the pan and toss to heat through. Cook for several minutes, the liquid will thicken as it comes to a simmer.  Stir in the capers and lemon zest at the very end.

To finish, transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil, then garnish with Italian parsley and a little grated cheese.

Yum, how good does that look?  I love this kind of meal for busy weeknights.  Open a bottle of your favorite white wine for this recipe, and then pour a glass for the cook!

Notes ♪♫ I love arrowroot flour for thickening.  It makes a lump free roux every time and I use it in some of my flour blends for bread baking as well.  It’s something I always have on hand in my gluten free pantry!

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Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Carrot and Zucchini muffins are perfect for breakfast on the go, coffee breaks and spring brunches!  The first time I made this gluten free muffin, I was so pleased with the high rise and moist crumb.  They are the not overly sweet and so are a great choice for breakfast.  As with all my muffin recipes, I think you will find that this gluten free preparation is as easy as traditional baking.

12 Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 240 g. gluten free all-purpose flour *see notes
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • cooking spray, if your pan isn’t nonstick
  • 12 pecan halves, optional
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter, for glazing

Preparation:

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through ginger.  Grate the zucchini and carrots.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk and lemon juice.

Add the zucchini and carrots to the egg mixture, then fold the dry ingredients into the wet.

Let the batter rest for a few minutes while you preheat the oven to 400º.

Now use a spoon to scoop out the batter, dividing it equally into the 12 muffin cups.  Use a spatula dipped in water to smooth the tops.  If you like, press a pecan into the top of each muffin.  It makes a nice presentation if you are serving these for a brunch.

Bake 20 minutes at 400º.  Aren’t they beautiful?  I love how you can see the green and orange flecks throughout.  While still in the pan, brush the tops with 1 tbsp. of melted butter to give them a nice shine.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack.

If not serving immediately, you can store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days.  They will refresh nicely in the microwave.  I recommend freezing leftovers, wrap them individually with Saran and store in a freezer safe bag.  Now that you know easy it is, I hope you will give this recipe a try.  Let me know, will you be adding it to your breakfast rotation?

Notes ♪♫ I used Better Batter original all-purpose flour in this recipe.  If you use a different flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, you will need to add 1-1/2 tsp.

Originally published 04/12/2018     Updated 02/19/2024

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Gluten Free Sandwich Thins

When I hear people say that the gluten free diet promotes weight loss I have to shake my head! ????  The reality is that gluten free breads, pastas and cereals have as many or more calories and carbs than their wheat filled counterparts.

It got me to thinking, that back a few years “BC” (before Celiac) I had a great homemade recipe for the popular Sandwich Thin buns that everyone loved.  In this post I’ll show you how I recreated that recipe to a gluten free version for my lunch sandwiches.

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Mind you, I wanted my bread to be nutritious and wholesome, not just empty calories.  This recipe checks all my boxes- whole grains, small portions, great taste.  I used a muffin top pan to create perfectly shaped rounds that were all the same size, about 1.5 oz. each after baking.

The flour blend was a result of trial and error, largely based on my own taste buds as well as some sampling by my family.  Sorghum and brown rice are high on my list of favorites, and I use a combination of the two in many of my breads.  Dark teff grain has an earthy flavor that can easily overpower a recipe, but using just a little lends a wheat like flavor and color.  I also blended 3 starches together which worked great, but no corn starch as I don’t like it for baking (again, just my taste preference).

You might be interested to know that I used a coffee grinder for some of my ingredient prep.  Tiny grains like teff and chia seeds can be purchased in whole form, and ground into a flour just before baking for ultimate freshness.

You don’t need a special pan to make the buns, but this muffin top pan I used was a great for shaping and definitely helped with portion control.  The non-stick finish made for a very easy cleanup.  I liked it so much I ordered a second one!

 

 

 

 

Makes 12 buns

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds, ground
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water

………………………………..

  • 90 g. whole grain sorghum flour
  • 130 g. brown rice flour
  • 40 g. tapioca starch
  • 40 g. arrowroot starch
  • 40 g. potato starch
  • 15 g. teff grain, ground
  • 1 tsp. gelatin
  • 1-1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

…………………………………….

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water

…………………………………….

  • 2 tbsp. 1% milk, for brushing
  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds

Preparation:

Grind 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a coffee grinder and combine it with 1 tbsp. yeast, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water.  Stir and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Grind 15 g. of teff grain in a coffee grinder.

Whisk together with the other dry ingredients.

Whisk the egg, olive oil and milk into the yeast mixture.

With the paddle attachment, mix in the dry ingredients along with the last 1/2 cup of water.  Beat for 3 minutes to form a smooth, wet dough.

Have a bowl of warm water ready for dipping your spoon and fingertips.  Drop a scant 2 tablespoons of dough into each well, dipping the spoon into the water each time to help manage the sticky dough.

Dip a small spatula into the water and smooth out the dough, spreading it in a circular motion to fill in the rounds.  Don’t skip this step, gluten free dough does not spread by itself!  If you are not using a muffin top pan, spoon the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and spread into 4″ rounds.

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400º.  After 30 minutes, brush the tops of the buns with milk and sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the buns reach an internal temperature of 205º.

Remember, gluten free bread takes longer to cook than regular, and if not cooked through the center will be wet and tacky.  Check the internal temperature with a thermometer!

Cool completely on a rack.  Buns are best the day they are baked, and leftovers should be frozen as soon as they reach room temperature.  I like to slice mine and wrap them individually in plastic wrap to store in freezer safe bags.  So easy to grab a roll for my lunch!  Here’s the crumb shot.

Just the right size for a light sandwich.  As I was baking, the kitchen really smelled like bread.  If you are gluten free you know what a big deal this is.  And the taste did not disappoint!  I have been enjoying my sandwiches knowing that I’m not overdoing it on carbs.  This recipe is a must try!  Please pin, like and share the recipe and let me know what you think!

Notes ♪♫ I placed my muffin top pans on top of another baking sheet for insulation.  This prevented the bottoms of the buns from burning before the centers were cooked through.  It worked perfectly!

Originally published 03/23/2019                   Updated 01/21/2024

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Sausage with Penne and Spinach

For an easy gluten free weeknight meal, look no further than this delicious skillet dinner.  Thanks to my sister for turning me on to the sausage and spinach combo, she made this meal for me shortly after my Celiac diagnosis!  Today I always like to have a variety of sausage on hand in my freezer pantry.  It’s delicious and the bold seasonings are enough to flavor an entire dish.  So, grab a pack, along with some gluten free penne and fresh baby spinach and let’s prepare a quick, satisfying weeknight dinner.

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3-4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. gluten free Italian sausage sliced into coins
  • 2 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1/2 lb. gluten free penne
  • 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 sweet onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 1 ladle of pasta water
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese for finishing (Parmesan or Romano)
  • Italian parsley for garnish optional

Preparation:

Cook the penne for 5 minutes less than the package directions, drain and set aside, reserving 1 ladle of the pasta water.  I find that most gluten free pasta is done to al dente long before the package instructions.  So, to be on the safe side I always under cook it, then finish it in the skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium low and begin browning the sausage and pancetta in a little olive oil.

When nicely browned on both sides add the onion and garlic.  Continue cooking and stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Next add the drained penne, all of the spinach, white wine and a ladle of the pasta water.

Cover and cook 1-2 minutes longer, or just until the spinach is wilted.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil, toss and finish with grated cheese and chopped parsley.

Dinner is on the table in under a half hour.  Perfect for those busy weeknights!

Notes ♪♫ Today there are so many types of gluten free sausage available.  Just in the 6 years since my Celiac diagnosis, the availability of delicious gluten free sausage has expanded so much.  So don’t hesitate to take advantage of easy meals like this one.  And if you’re worried about sodium or other ingredients, learn to make your own.  Check out my Gluten Free Italian Sausage Patties, and my Gluten Free Breakfast Sausage Patties.  Both are easy to make, and you control what goes into them!

 

Originally published 6/3/2018             Revised 1/17/2024

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Gluten Free Eggplant Rollatini Appetizer

Bite sized Eggplant Rollatini are the perfect finger food for holidays, parties or game day!  If you are looking for a gluten free appetizer for your next get-together, give this recipe a try.  They are really tasty and different than the usual party snack.  This recipe will make 20-24.

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Ingredients:

Preparation:

Cut the top and bottom off the eggplant, stand it on its side and peel.

Slice it lengthwise into 12 strips, make them as thin and even as you can.  Trim away any heavily seeded areas.

Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet and coat lightly with olive oil.  Add the eggplant slices in one layer (do it in batches) and cook briefly on each side, enough so that they can be rolled without breaking.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Lay the cooked slices on a sheet pan lined with paper towel, to remove some of the moisture.

Cut each slice of eggplant down the middle lengthwise to form strips.  Layer each strip with a slice of ham and cheese.

Carefully roll up the eggplant slices and place seam side down in a baking dish.  Use toothpicks to hold the bundles together.  You can make the recipe ahead to this point and refrigerate, in fact chilling the eggplant rolls at this point will make them easier to work with.

Preheat the oven to 325° and set up 2 breading trays.  In one bowl beat the egg with 1 tbsp. water.  Add the breadcrumbs to the other bowl.

Mist a clean square baking dish with cooking spray.  Using your fingers, carefully pick up one bundle at a time and dip it in the egg, shaking off the excess.  Roll in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in the clean baking pan.  Continue until all the bundles are breaded.  Be sure to remove all toothpicks before baking.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

Finish with a drizzle of your favorite BBQ sauce and serve immediately or reheat just before serving.

Notes ♪♫ Most of the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free.  Be careful when purchasing cold cuts.  Look for gluten free brands like Boar’s Head and be sure that they have a dedicated slicer for gluten free products at the deli.  For the breading, I always use Aleia’s Gluten Free Italian Breadcrumbs.  They are just the best!

Originally published 12/31/2019            Updated 12/27/2023

 

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Gluten Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

If you’ve been following my cookie adventures on Facebook, you know that I was determined to master the gluten free thumbprint.  I tried and tried to adapt a recipe to be gluten free, I made so many cookies!  And while they all tasted good, well….

I made a giant unicookie! ????????????

I made some really flat cookies!

Then I did what I should have done in the first place, I asked an expert.

Chef Patrick Auger, who I consider to be THE ORACLE of gluten free baking shared a bit of his expertise with me on how to achieve the perfect gluten free thumbprint (hint: if you don’t have a scale go and order one now!).  Thanks Patrick!  Now, without further ado, here you are ladies and gentlemen!  Gluten Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies!

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Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:  

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened (see hint below)
  • 70 g. (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 187 g. gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter Original)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. water (may be needed to bring dough together)
  • egg whites for brushing (optional)
  • gluten free raspberry jam (I used Smucker’s)

Hint: Don’t have time to wait for butter to soften at room temperature?  Me either.  Here’s how to get the perfect consistency every time.  Stand your butter on a plate, cover with a glass and microwave 20-30 seconds.  Perfectly softened butter every time!

Preparation:

Cream together the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla.

Weigh the flour, this is critical to achieving the right dough.

Add the flour and salt to the mixer bowl and continue beating until the dough comes together.  You may have to add up to 1 tbsp. water.

Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and press into a disc.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Line one or two baking sheets with parchment or use a silicone baking mat.

I was determined to make perfectly uniform sized cookies, so I weighed the dough and divided by 24, it came to about 15 g. each.  If you’re a perfectionist like me, you can weigh them or if not just eyeball it!

Roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten slightly.  Place them on the cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.

Instead of my big old thumbs, I used a 1/8 teaspoon to make the indentations.

I brushed the cookies very lightly with egg white, but this step is optional.  I used the same 1/8 teaspoon to fill the indentations with jam, perfect fit!

Next, refrigerate the cookies again while you preheat the oven to 350º.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the pan cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.  Try not to eat them all at once!

Notes for success:

Use Better Batter Original gluten free flour

Weigh your flour (use a scale)

♪♫ Follow Chef Patrick Auger on Facebook and Instagram

♫♫ Use my code MGFC30 for 30% off any full price purchase at Better Batter!

 

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Gluten Free Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are at the top of my list of treats to bake for Christmas visits and gifting.  Everyone loves this traditional Italian cookie, even Santa!

Before my Celiac diagnosis, I would bake biscotti every Christmas for my family, friends and co-workers.   I had truly missed this tradition, and so I resolved to make a gluten free biscotti with all the flavor and texture of my old recipe.

There are so many variations of biscotti, but this almond and dark chocolate combo is my favorite.  If you bake only one cookie for Christmas, let it be this one!

Almonds, almond flour and almond extract deliver a triple punch of flavor in these beloved Italian treats.  And you will be surprised at how easy they are to make!

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Ingredients:

  • 60 g. brown rice flour
  • 55 g. potato starch
  • 25 g. tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum

OR

PLUS

Preparation:

Line a half sheet pan with parchment or use a silicone mat.  If using sliced raw almonds, you need to toast them first.  Just spread them in a single layer and bake for 5 minutes at 350º.  Watch that they don’t burn!  Set them aside in a bowl to cool down before adding to the batter.

If you have whole toasted almonds, you can skip this step and just blitz them a few times in an electric chopper.

Next, whisk together the dry ingredients (through nutmeg).  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, beat for 3 minutes.

Next add the eggs, one at a time with the almond extract.

Beat well for 1 minute then incorporate the flour mixture, just until moistened.  Last add the nuts and mix on low for a few seconds to incorporate.

Spread the dough onto the lined baking sheet in a log shape.

Use a spatula to smooth and pat it into a log, about 1/2″ thick.  Divide the log in 2 lengthwise (I used a dough scraper).  Run the spatula around the sides of the dough to smooth the rough edges.  Put the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350º.

Then bake for 30 minutes.

I divided the dough along the crease before moving it to a rack to cool.

Probably the biggest difference between gluten free biscotti and those made with wheat flour is that instead of waiting 5-10 minutes before slicing you will need to cool it for a full 30 minutes.  You might be tempted to slice into it right away, but don’t do it or your biscotti will crumble to bits!  Allow the cookies to set for at least 30 minutes and your patience will be rewarded.

If you like a crisp, hard cookie (great for dunking) return the sliced biscotti to the baking sheet cut side up and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Before frosting, arrange the biscotti on a rack over a sheet of wax paper to keep the counter clean, and let them cool completely.  Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  I like to use a spoon or spatula to drizzle the chocolate in a zig-zag pattern over each cookie.

Let the biscotti stand at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set, then arrange on a platter.  If you are in a hurry, you can place biscotti in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to speed things up.

Now that you know how easy it is to prepare this holiday treat, start your own Christmas tradition and bake up a batch for gifting your family and friends.

Merry Christmas from My Gluten Free Cucina

Notes ♪♫ Since gluten free baked goods are notorious for crumbling, I find that using sliced almonds rather than whole helps the biscotti hold together with nice, clean slices.  Either way, they taste great!

 

Originally published 12/29/2019                 Updated 12/15/23

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Gluten Free Shrimp Scampi

Sometimes you have a meal in a restaurant, and it just sticks in your mind until you finally take the time to recreate it at home.  This is one of those meals.  I love seafood pasta and Shrimp Scampi has to be at the top of my list for all-time favorites.

Did you know this dish is super-fast and easy to prepare?  Yes, a five-star dinner that is quick enough to make on a weeknight!

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup (about half of a 14.5 oz. can) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. white wine
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse Pan.  Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and wine.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Heat a large pot of salted water for the spaghetti and bring to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and set your timer for 1 minute less than the package directions.

When you have 8 minutes to go on the spaghetti, add the shrimp to the sauce with the lemon juice.  Cook for 3 minutes then turn to finish.

Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan with 2 tbsp. unsalted butter.  Cook for 1 minute longer to marry the flavors.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh Italian parsley and shaved Parmigiano.

Notes ♪♫ I know the food police will say that combining cheese with seafood flies in the face of Italian culinary tradition.  But when I had this dish at a restaurant, it came topped with Parmesan shavings and let me tell you it was out of this world!  Use the good stuff, real Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved fresh right before serving.  I am 100% Italian and trust me, it’s wonderful.

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Gluten Free Italian Veal Cutlets

For a special Sunday Dinner, make your family a nice platter of Italian Veal Cutlets.  This was one of my dad’s favorite meals, I especially remember how he loved to order a veal cutlet sandwich at one of the local restaurants.  So be sure to make enough for dinner and leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

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I am fortunate to live in an Italian neighborhood where we can find thin sliced veal cutlets at the market.  At today’s prices, it’s a splurge but if you are making a nice dinner for two you can get away with less than a pound.  Serve with gluten free pasta and extra marinara sauce.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Set up 3 breading trays (or use plates), one with rice flour, one with beaten egg and one with breadcrumbs.  Preheat the oven to 350º.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with several tablespoons of olive oil.  Keep the heat on medium low.  Working quickly, dredge each piece of veal in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture.  Shake off the excess egg and dredge in the breadcrumbs.  As you finish coating each piece add it to the skillet.  Cook 2 minutes per side until nicely browned, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining slices, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.  The cutlets do not have to be cooked through at this point, they will finish in the oven.

Ladle marinara over each slice and top with grated cheese, as much as you like.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.

That’s it.  Not complicated at all.  Serve with a nice plate of pasta and some good gluten free bread to soak up the sauce and you’ve got a fine meal on the table in under an hour (they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day though).

Notes ♪♫ Veal cutlets need to be sliced very thin.  If you can’t get them this way at the store you will need to place the meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness with a meat mallet.  If veal is not in the budget, you will be happy to know you can also make this recipe with chicken.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Why can’t restaurants make a good marinara sauce?  I’m often so disappointed when ordering a simple pasta dish.  It’s the sauce.  You know that bland watery tomato sauce straight out of the can with no seasoning?  Honestly, sometimes I want to walk into the kitchen and show them how to do it!

Well, maybe I’ll just show you, dear readers, that it’s not difficult to make a marinara sauce at home.  Do you really need certified San Marzano DOP dell’agro Sarnese Nocerino tomatoes?  Ok yes, they are out of this world good, but if you’re on a budget it is perfectly fine to start with any canned plum tomatoes or sauce, you just have to jazz it up!

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I confess, to this day I still prefer Hunts Sauce for my marinara because that’s what my mother used, and it brings back such memories of our Italian Sunday dinners growing up.  If you do decide to splurge on real Certified San Marzano tomatoes, I recommend you shop around.  I paid $6.99 a can at my grocery store but later found them online for less!

Before we get started with the recipe, I will tell you that this is not the purist version of marinara sauce.  Yes, I am 100% Italian, and I add onions (gasp) and sugar to my marinara.  It’s the way I make it, and everyone loves it.   Try it, you’ll see!  So much better than jar sauce and in case you were wondering, marinara sauce is gluten free when you make it yourself and there are no mystery ingredients!

Start with whole peeled tomatoes if you like it chunky, or plain tomato sauce if you prefer a smooth sauce with no seeds.  You can use a combination of the two.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse and heat over medium low (do not use a saucepan, you want something with a wide surface that will allow the sauce to reduce).  Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, be careful not to let it burn.

Next add the tomato paste.  Using paste gives the sauce body and makes it less watery.  Make a space in the center of the pan and drop it in, then let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

Now add the sauce and/or whole peeled tomatoes (break them up with your hands first), brown sugar, pepper, basil and oregano.  I do not add sugar to a meat sauce, but for a marinara I love just a tablespoon of sugar or brown sugar per large can of tomatoes.

Stir it up, cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  A simmer mat is great for maintaining a low, gentle simmer and you don’t have to worry about burning your sauce.

When finished, remove the lid and let the sauce sit for 15 minutes.

Now that you know how to make a good marinara sauce, what restaurant favorite will you have for dinner tonight?  How about Spaghetti and Meatballs?  Chicken and shells?  With a great marinara recipe, you can recreate all those great meals right at home!

For some other great sauces, check out my Harvest Pasta Sauce, Traditional Bolognese Sauce, and Mushroom Cream Sauce!

Notes ♪♫ Fun fact, my mother would put a whole onion into her sauce, then remove it before serving “so no one would know”!  She made a huge pot of sauce every month then froze it in portions for Sunday dinner.  I still remember that big Farberware pot on the stove.  I always said my mother’s sauce was better the week after she made it, so go ahead and make a double or triple recipe to always have some on hand!  You can freeze marinara sauce for 6 months.  

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