Thursday, August 2, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Marinara

I just finished dinner, and it was so fantastic, that I had to stop everything and post this recipe.  Whether you're hosting a dinner party this weekend, or simply cooking for yourself and your family, I encourage you to add this dish to your meal plan.  I've had many tasty bowls of spaghetti in my day, the two best being my Mom's homemade meat sauce and her roasted vegetable marinara.  Now I can add this marinara to my childhood favorites.

As I considered what I wanted to eat for dinner in the days leading up to my triathlon on Saturday, I found myself craving a plate of spaghetti.  The secret to the bold flavor of the sauce is balsamic vinegar.  I know, I know, it sounds strange.  Try it though, I guarantee you'll be a fan!

Are you wondering what the green item is that I've tossed with the pasta?  I had a large bunch of lacinato kale in my produce drawer that was nearing the end of its peak freshness.  Rather than have a side of sauteed kale, I opted to toss the chopped kale into the boiling water during the last minute that the pasta cooked.  Easy and nutritious!

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Marinara
1 zucchini
1 large green bell pepper
3 large carrots
3 large organic tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp  Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Italian herbs
Handful of fresh basil

1. Roughly chop zucchini, bell pepper, and carrots.  Cut the tomatoes into quarters.  Toss the vegetables with a couple tablespoons of EVOO and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread onto a foil lined baking sheet.
2.  Bake vegetables for 45 minutes at 375, tossing halfway through the cooking time so that they cook evenly.
3. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
4. In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar to the onions and continue to saute for a few additional minutes.  
5. Pour the roasted vegetables into a Vitamix or food processor and pulse until roughly pureed.  
6. Add the pureed vegetables to the onions.  
7. Whisk together the vegetable stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire, herbs, and basil.  Pour over the vegetables.
8.  Return to a simmer and then turn the heat to low and cook for 1 hour, or until the flavors are well blended.
9. Serve a heaping portion of sauce over your favorite pasta.  Top with parmesan cheese.
10. Enjoy!

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