Meatless Monday: Simple Sauces

These two sauces have very few ingredients, but are incredibly versatile. The pesto is better during the summer, when we have fresh-from-the-herb-garden basil, but can be made any time of year.

RPM’s Marinara Sauce

Extra virgin olive oil
Five cloves garlic, diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. can tomato sauce
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
Optional herbs/spices: 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/4-1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add diced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, stirring.
3. Add herbs and spices.
4. Let simmer over low to medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn heat off, and let sit another 30 minutes to hour to meld flavors.

Serve over your favorite pasta, with cheese. Or use in recipes that call for marinara or tomato sauce, such as eggplant Parmesan, lasagna, “chicken” Parmesan, etc. The sauce also freezes very well.

RPM’s Pesto Sauce

Four to five cloves garlic
1/3 to 1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup to 1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup loosely packed basil
Pinch of salt
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine garlic, pine nuts, cheese and basil in a mini-food processor.
2. Pulse ingredients, adding olive oil until sauce has a thick liquid-like consistancy. Try not to make it too runny.
3. Toss with your favorite pasta.

I’m sorry the amounts here aren’t very exact. This is definitely a “to taste” recipe. Here at Casa di RPM, we like it with lots of garlic and basil. Vary accordingly.

I also to like to use the pesto when I am entertaining. When fish eaters are guests, I put it over salmon — one of DearDR’s favorite dishes. It’s so easy: Just preheat your oven to 350 degrees; spoon 1/2 inch pesto over salmon filets; cover and cook (in greased Pyrex or casserole dish) for 30 minutes. I get rave reviews about this one everytime.