So, Cheri posed an interesting question on my contact page regarding a flavorful marinara sauce. More specifically, she dropped the “b” word…. BACON. What could I do but immediately run out to the grocery store? I did some googling, and was very disappointed with the recipes I saw, so this one is on me. I was trying to find an authentic recipe and I came up with very little. What a sad world we live in. Everyone would be a little happier with bacon marinara on their plate.
This is a good recipe to have in your back pocket. As easy as it is to pick up a jar of sauce at the store, it just doesn’t have the depth of flavor as a marinara you make yourself. And believe me, This guy is approaching the grand canyon of marinara flavor.
I started with a mirepoix. Drop that term. You’ll sound so chef-y. A traditional mirepoix is a mixture of celery, onions and carrots and is a flavor base for a wide range of sauces and dishes. Ever hear anyone talking about aromatics? I don’t really think of celery and onion as aromatic, but apparently they are. I also think it’s important to note that I hate celery (pretty passionately as a matter of fact) and I wouldn’t leave it out of this dish.
I started with several stalks of celery, a handful of baby carrots and a medium white onion. You could also use yellow onion, but I’d probably stay away from red onion. This brings me to another point of reference. When I first started cooking, I had no idea how to chop an onion. I would generally cut off the ends, peel and then after laying it on a flat side, I would cut crosswise and diagonally to make a minced effect. No longer. After watching the food network, I decided to try to learn the right way. Here’s how:
Cut off the ends of the onion and peel away the outer layer. Then, chop in half. Lay the onion down on its midsection and make horizontal cuts.
Now make vertical cuts.
Then, slice of the end a little bit at a time and it will make a beautifully chopped onion. So beautiful you may cry. You might be crying from the “aroma” anyways.
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
Handful of carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic
1 large can crushed & peeled tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
8 pieces bacon (or use pancetta instead)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the mirepoix and set aside.
Saute the bacon in a large saute pan until crispy. Take out and set aside. Once cool, chop into bite sized pieces.
In the bacon fat left in the pan, saute the carrots, celery and onion on medium low heat until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add red wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the remainder of the ingredients (not the bacon) and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Add more wine, garlic or worcestershire depending on taste.
S was in charge of getting the crushed tomatoes, and he instead got whole canned tomatoes. I wasn’t as happy with them – even though we chopped them prior to using I thought they did not break down as much as I would have liked. Make sure the tomatoes are peeled. Otherwise your marinara will have gross tomato skins in it. No one wants that.
Add bacon and continue to simmer until sauce has achieved the consistency desired.
Remove the bay leaf, and serve with the pasta or dish of your choice. We added ours to a stuffed cabbage recipe (which will shortly follow) and it was INCREDIBLE. Thank you Cheri for pushing me to try this! I will be using it for years to come!
Have a lovely Sunday!