The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Marinara Sauce and why I subscribe to the NYTimes

Marinara ingredients

Marinara ingredients

I subscribe to the New York Times – food and recipes section.
“Why on earth would you do that?” I suspect some are thinking. “You don’t even live in America!”

Well apart from the recipes – that are generally very good – it’s the food ie comments that attracted me initially and have kept me subscribing for a few years now.

In the UK most of the leading newspapers publish recipes, with comments. More often than not the commentators come out with clever quips, get into tussles with other comentators and eventually begin to irritate me. So often they are more interested in expressing their own wider opinions rather than focussing on the recipes and the food.

It’s very different with the NYT. Of course there are some comments that are not so useful but the majority are interesting and recipe focussed. These are genuine reviews by people who want to share their discoveries  with other foodies. There are fascinating tips and twists. Generally the comments following the recipes create a valuable foodie forum and a great resource.

In fact I usually get as much inspiration from the comments as the recipes themselves.

At the moment I am looking at vegetarian lasagne recipes. I would like to develop some recipes that are easy, quick, inexpensive and delicious.

A lot of lasagne recipes include Marinara sauce – a simple tomato sauce with a gentle garlic, basil and chilli zing. Of course you can buy this but it’s far cheaper and tastier if you make it yourself.

In the comments section of this NYT recipe, one man said that his Sicilian wife uses the same ingredients but cooks the sauce very gently in the slow cooker all day. Apparently the results are wonderful.

So I doubled the recipe and did the same. I now have just over 1 1/2 litres/6 cups of Marinara sauce. I used a stick blender to make the sauce smooth towards the end of cooking.

I did try the short stove top version too. It was fine but the slow cooker version had much more depth of flavour and vroom!

Marinara sauce can be used in so many different ways – added to a bowl of pasta, spread on a pizza, used in a bolognaise sauce – the variations are endless.

The sauce can be bottled/canned or frozen in portions.

You can find the recipe that I followed here

  Leave a reply


  1. Caitríona

    I first came across your blog in 2008 and used to enjoy checking into it as a bit of light relief during study for university exams. Fast forward 14 years I’m now a Mum of 2 always hungry for economical family meal ideas. Always checked in from time to time so glad to see you back. Looking forward to what is to come!

  2. Great to see you back! I like others pop back every now and again to see if you are posting. Was looking for your Christmas cake recipe, one of the many of your recipes that have become part of life. Hope you are well.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Thank you Claire for your comment! Feeling really good about being back in the saddle and excited about the future of the site. Spending a lot of time working on the new site – a massive learning curve 😉 But the content is far more important than the look! Really keen to make the Christmas cake this year – my sister usually makes her recipe – the last time I made it her naughty pugs ate the middle of the cake in five minutes. We didn’t really fancy the cake after that 🙂

  3. Hi Fiona, great to see your words here. I enjoyed your lovely blog for several years and I’ve been checking back here from time to time, hoping that more would be coming from you. Something was missing from England without you. Hoping for more soon. Best wishes, Steve

    • Fiona Nevile

      Thank you Steve! Yes I’m back but atm the website is being updated by an excellent website developer and that is taking a lot of my time. Your message is much appreciated, thanks again.

  4. Ruthdigs

    Sounds lovely done in the slow cooker. I know what you mean about good comments sections, some invaluable tips to be found!
    Great to have you back posting x

    • Fiona Nevile

      Thanks Ruth
      I had no standard cooker for five years so really got into the slow cooker and now use it summer and winter. Now I have a range cooker but rarely use anything but the hob! It does look good though ;0)

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