I mentioned before that we took the gluten free plunge after the new year. Part of my pledge to myself was to have this be an easy transition for my family. I didn’t want to scare off my husband or children with a drastic change to our normal menu. I am a firm believer that good whole foods are the most delicious foods and I try my best to serve them in a way that is comforting to those eating.
This marinara recipe was passed on to me by my father. I have adapted the recipe slightly, but for the most part it is pretty tried and true. The secret ingredient making this sauce stand apart from others is the avocado, it gives a much creamier texture and of course adds in some healthy fats and nutrients. This sauce has become a regular on our families dinner menu, even loved enough to be served at multiple family parties. Served over gluten free pasta (that is cooked correctly) and you have yourself a healthier for you comfort food favorite.
1 Pound of Bacon diced
8 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 Yellow Onion minced
2 Green Bell Peppers
1 Can Tomato Paste
3 Large Cans Diced Tomatoes
1 Carton of Chicken Stock
1 Cup Half and Half
2 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbs. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 Bay Leaves
Sprinkle of Sugar
Fresh Basil minced
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
optional: rind of parmesan cheese
*This makes a lot of sauce. I typically make this much and freeze the rest if it is just my family eating. If this is made for a large crowd this is enough to feed everyone.
Cook bacon in a large stock pot until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Leave about two to three tablespoons of bacon grease in pot and add garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat until fragrant. Add in entire can of tomato paste. Cook for one to two minutes and then add in avocado. Break up avocado with back of spoon and then add in diced tomatoes. After combined blend with immersion blender until smooth. Next, add in your seasonings, tasting as you go and adding more in if necessary. Bring sauce to a boil and add in bay leaves and parmesan cheese rind. After sauce is boiling turn heat down to medium low and simmer covered for at least half an hour(better if longer). After sauce has been simmering, taste and add in sprinkle of sugar if bitter. Also, adjust seasonings accordingly. Add in enough chicken stock to thin out the sauce as needed (I most of the time add in almost the entire carton of chicken stock but only if I have been simmering sauce all day, the longer it simmers the thicker the sauce will get). When ready to serve add in the one cup of cream and crisped bacon and remove the bay leaves. Serve over pasta and garnish with minced basil and grated parmesan. This is also delicious used as a sauce for homemade pizza or served over grilled chicken with mozzarella cheese grated on top.
*I usually freeze extra sauce in mason jars, just be sure to cool completely and allow room for sauce to expand.