Sometimes I’m just in the mood for marinara and breadsticks. I usually have a freezer full of tomato sauce to pull out and defrost on those days when I just can’t be bothered to think up some dinner, or if I’m in the mood for homemade pizza. My “freezer sauce” is simmered forever until it is a deep red tomato color and reduced. Sometimes I cook it with wine. Occasionally I even put some in the sauce.
Other times, however, I’m in the mood for a lighter, “fresher” sauce, at least as fresh as you can get from a couple cans of San Marzano tomatoes. And fresh basil. And homemade noochy breadsticks. And FYH (vegan) ranch dressing. And for heaven’s sake, easy. And it’s just by accident that I’m in the mood for this type of fast sauce when I’m fresh out of freezer sauce. I need to get on that, stat.
I don’t cook my marinara until it’s tomato-paste burgundy; it’s rather still bright red once it’s done. So it doesn’t involve a whole lot of babysitting. I basically cook it long enough to break down the sautéed onions and to release the aromatics in the garlic and the few stems of fresh thyme that I put in damn near everything. The fresh basil goes in toward the end, along with some salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you’re feeling fancy. It all comes together, including a trip through the food mill, in the time it takes for the breadsticks to finish baking in the oven.