Yesterday, I posted about the Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Calzones that I made over the weekend.  I was completely inspired by an episode of Pioneer Woman that I watched on Saturday.  This is the problem with me watching Food Network…I always get inspired and want to make some version of what I see….guess that’s the point!

PW’s marinara sauce is listed here in case you want to be inspired as well!!!

KP’s marinara sauce

1/2 pkg frozen seasoning blend
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic (or more, I dont really measure)
3 C roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 C chicken broth
basil paste
salt and pepper

Earlier this summer I made a couple trips with my sister and mom to East Texas to pick tomatoes from my Papa’s garden.  He fell and broke his hip and was in rehab until 2 weeks ago, so his amazing garden had to be tended to while he was away.  It was fun because we had TONS of tomatoes to play with and try new recipes.  Of course with it just being me, I couldn’t use up the tomatoes fast enough.  I knew sometime in the winter months, I would make soups or other dishes so I decided to cut them and roast them.  I froze them in ziploc bags to I could pull out small portions at a time.  This was the perfect moment!!
I also keep chicken broth in my freezer.  Anytime I have to boil chicken for a recipe, I add bullion and other spices and freeze it for later.  I love having homemade chicken broth vs canned anytime possible.  It’s annoying to have a bunch of random containers in the freezer, but when it comes time to make sauces or soups, I’m so grateful!

So, I pulled 2 bags of tomatoes and 1 tub of chicken broth from the freezer and put in a bowl of hot water to defrost.

Saute the seasoning blend in olive oil until the edges of the onions start to brown. Add minced garlic and stir together let sit for 2 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth and de-glaze the bottom of the skillet, scrap all the yummy goodness off the bottom from sauteing the onions.  Add in the tomatoes. Stir together to mix.  Boil down until you get the desired thickness.  Add basil. 

Normally, I would go for fresh basil, but I recently bought a tube of basil paste when they were out of the fresh for another recipe I was doing.  Its proven to be a concentrated blend and makes the same effect of fresh without all the chopping! 

Sprinkle in the sugar, salt and pepper.

(at this point, you can decide what texture you want.  I sliced the tomatoes before I roasted them so they were kinda a “crushed” texture.  If you want your sauce smoother, wait for it to cool and pulse in the blender.  Or, you can use an immersion hand blender.  I kept mine kinda chunky.  Another thing to keep in mind if you use fresh tomatoes is that roasting them brings out a natural sweet flavor so you may omit the sugar just to keep it from being too sweet.  And, the peeling will roll up and be tough, so you may want to pull that from the frozen tomatoes before you add them in to make the sauce.)

Serve with Calzones or over pasta. 

Buon Appetito!