Pasta with Quick Marinara and Shrimp
Homemade marinara sauce is easier to make than you might guess, and is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to pasta sauces. This recipe can easily be doubled for freezing and sharing, and it is a great pizza sauce as well. Experiment with adding other ingredients to this basic recipe for different flavors—crushed red pepper, olives, sauteed mushrooms, or other fresh herbs. If you don't want to add shrimp, feel free to skip step #2.
- 1 lb pasta (spaghetti, fettucine, cappelini, or other long pasta), preferably whole grain
- 1 lb fresh or frozen thawed shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small white onion, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- 3/4 cup red wine (optional)
- 1 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes in juice (San Marzano are excellent)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fill a large stock pot with 6 quarts of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Turn heat to high and cover to bring to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, dry shrimp with a paper towel if they are damp, and sprinkle shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper each. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Working quickly, place the shrimp in the pan to cook on one side, turning after 2 minutes or so. Let cook one more minute, then remove to a plate. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of the onion to the same pan and saute until starting to brown. Remove pan from heat and add sauteed onion and oil in pan to shimp on plate, covering to keep warm.
- In a large saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat and saute the remaining onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for another few minutes. Pour in the red wine if using and continue to cook, stirring to deglaze any onion on the pan. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the sugar and bring to a bubbling simmer. Reduce heat, add basil, and cook, covered, on low for 15 minutes.
- Uncover pan and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Taste the sauce and add a bit more sugar if there is a "ketchupy" or metallic taste; you'll want to add salt to taste at this point as well. Cover pot and let simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes, further breaking up tomatoes if necessary (leaving chunks is nice as well!). Remove pan from heat and add the shrimp, onion, and accumulated juices from the plate.
- Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water in the stockpot. Put pasta back into stockpot and drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Add the marinara sauce and shrimp to the pasta, using kitchen tongs to toss the pasta. Add the cheese and serve immediately.