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Meathead’s Grilled Marinara Sauce

Fired Up Marvelous Marinara Sauce Recipe- courtesy of Craig Meathead Goldwyn of Read the full primer about Meathead’s Grilled Spaghetti on his site.  Great information as always from Meathead. Now you know what to do with all those tomatoes your friends bring over or are on sale a the farmers market!  Tell your friends your serving grilled spaghetti!  And you are!

Makes. About 4 cups, enough for 4 servings
Preparation time. About 90 minutes


2 pounds of ripe tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced in half
1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery, leaves removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

About the tomatoes. If tomatoes are not in season, use a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. You just can’t grill them. Grill the rest of the ingredients instead.

About the herbs.
You can use fresh herbs if you wish. Just double the quantity since fresh herbs are mostly water. The rule of thumb is triple the quantity, but play it safe. Some purists will argue that marinara doesn’t have oregano, that only pizza sauce has oregano. I like oregano. So I add 1/4 teaspoon. So there.

Optional mix-ins.
While the whole shebang is in the pan, a it up a notch with a pinch of red pepper flakes or chipotle powder. If you have some pesto, add a teaspoon.

Do this

1) Preheat the grill to medium hot and when it is ready, clean the grates thoroughly. I know you don’t clean the grates most of the time, but clean grates are very important for this recipe.
Get some smoke started by putting some dry (not soaked) wood chips on the coals or if you are using a gas grill put them in foil, poke holes in the foil, and place the packet as close to the flame as possible.
Roll a paper towel into a tight cigar and dip it into cheap vegetable oil. Swab the grill grates with the oil so the tomatoes won’t stick.
Put them on the grates, cut end down for 5 to 10 minutes or until they start to get some dark grill marks.
Then roll them over and grill the skin side.
Don’t worry if they blacken a bit on the skin side. Remove them and let them cool until you can handle them.
While the tomatoes are cooking, put the onion, carrot, and celery on the grill and roll them around until well marked.

Optional. Put the tomatoes in your smoker for about 30 minutes at about 225°F. If you go this route, do not grill or smoke the other veggies. The smoke flavor can be a bit too much if you do.

2) The tomato skins should slip off pretty easily when they cool off enough so you can handle them. Yank ‘em. When the other veggies are cool, chop them fine.

3) In a 2 quart pot or frying pan warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add everything except the tomatoes and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick. If they stick you can deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine or water.

4) Add the tomatoes to the pan, turn the heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. You don’t have to chop them, they’ll break down. If it gets too thick add water. If it gets thick again, add water.

5) Remove the bay leaf, taste and adjust the seasonings. If it is too acidic, you can add up to 2 teaspoons of sugar to balance it. You’re done. The result is lumpy with those flavorful fire roasted veggies, and that’s just the way it is. If you don’t like that, you can whup it up in a blender or food processor or with a stick blender and strain it. Now pour your sauce over pasta, use it on pizza, in grilled eggplant parm, or on just about anything except ice cream.


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