Monday Cold Wet Weather & Hot Comfort Food & Marinara in Minutes

What a crazy winter we’ve had here on the coast with plenty of unusually low temperatures accompanied by nasty winds and rain that prompted me to warm things up in the kitchen. I wanted easy and easier dinners so I called on the Instant Pot for two of my dishes this week. I started out to make a quick marinara for a fabulous bowl of ravioli and meatballs from my stashes in the freezer.
My freezer diving resulted in 3 frozen bags of homemade meatballs, and two containers of previously made sauces just enough to add to the pot of fresh marinara. I had at least 6 quarts of marinara sauce in the end, but I forgot to take a peek at the pot level marker so I feel that it was closer to a bit more than 7 quarts.

YaYa’s nothing fancy marinara is just that and is good for many dishes for quick weeknight dinners as well as Sunday macaroni favorites. I prefer San Marzano canned crushed or whole tomatoes and yes they really are better even in a simple marinara and for this quick version, I used two cans of whole tomatoes, put through a food mill and1 an additional can of crushed tomatoes.

Rosemary’s (YaYa’s) Easy Marinara

One medium sweet Vidalia onion cut in peeled, cut in half, and trim the stem
One whole carrot washed
Six whole cloves of garlic left whole
Two Bay leaves (get good ones, not brittle one in a jar)
2 fresh bay leaves
Sprigs of fresh oregano
A nice handful of fresh basil
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup good red wine
About a 1 1/2 piece of parmesan rind
1/2 teaspoon each granulated garlic and roasted onion powder
1 teaspoon homemade sausage seasoning
A pinch or two of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat Instant Pot on saute
Once the IP is heated, add the olive oil and toss in the carrots, onion, and garlic
Briefly sauté Saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring often
Toss in all of the herbs, again stirring until it all sizzles a bit, and add the red wine to deglaze for a minute or two
Add the tomatoes and cheese rind
Season with the rest of the seasonings and simmer to a bubbly sauce. Taste for seasoning
Turn the pot off and reset to manual high and adjust heat to high pressure, close the vent, and set for 25 minutes.
Let the pressure come down normally.

When finished I fish out the herb stems and give the sauce a quick whiz with a stick blender to puree the onions and carrots. Now you are ready for several dishes…tonight stuffed shells and lasagna for the weekend.