Very Veggie Marinara Sauce

This recipe for marinara sauce makes enough for several meals. I tend to freeze it in one-meal portions and then defrost for a quick weeknight meal or to use in place of commercial spaghetti sauce.

2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
4 large carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups grated butternut squash
10 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 28-oz cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbs fresh basil, minced
1/2 Tbs sea salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste

1. Warm a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, leek, peppers, carrots and fennel in olive oil for five minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Mix in bay leaves, oregano, thyme and pepper flakes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened.

2. Add squash, tomatoes, canned tomatoes and juice, broth, wine, orange juice and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the tomatoes and squash are soft and the liquid has reduced a bit. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add basil and purée with a hand blender until the sauce has a smooth consistency. Sauce can now be frozen for future use.

Vegan: Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth

Serving Ideas
Sauté a chopped onion and a chopped red bell pepper in a little olive oil. Add one pound ground beef, stirring and separating until beef is cooked through. Drain off excess fat. Stir in 4 cups prepared sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over gluten-free pasta.

Cioppino: Sauté a couple of chopped bell peppers, a half-pound of raw-peeled shrimp and red pepper flakes to taste in some olive oil. Mix in 4 cups of prepared sauce, 1/2 cup of chopped clams, 1/2 cup clam juice and serve over gluten-free pasta.

Primavera: Sauté one half zucchini, chopped, and 1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Mix in 4 cups prepared sauce. Add in 1/2 cup peas and 1/2 cup cooked, chopped broccoli. Serve over gluten-free pasta.

Puttanesca: Sauté 2 cloves minced garlic, 6 anchovy fillets, 2 Tbs capers and 1/3 cup pitted, chopped olives for one minute. Combine with 4 cups of prepared sauce. Serve over gluten-free pasta.


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