Pasta Marinara & Garlic Knots

“Did you make everything from scratch for dinner the other night?” asked Albany John

“No. I just made the pasta from scratch. And the marinara. And the garlic knots. Oh, so yeah, I guess I did make everything from scratch…” I replied.

So I made some pasta for Albany John, Slick, and myself and also made marinara sauce to go with it. We had one big can left, and I felt it was a good time to use it. I tried not to make too much pasta, so I scaled my recipe down to:

1 C flour ($0.32)
Dash salt
1 whole egg ($0.07)
Small glug olive oil
Dash water

Kneaded it well, adding flour if too wet or water if a hair too dry.

I’ve also calculated (as you can see) how much it cost to make. Maybe add in another 10 – 15 cents for the olive oil, but I really didn’t use a lot. Pasta for three people was 54 cents. A one-pound box of Hannaford’s line of pasta costs 87 cents, for a savings of 33 cents. This is probably splitting hairs if you’re someone in a hurry, but if you don’t mind waiting, then it’s pretty awesome to see that it’s cheaper to make pasta at home than it is to buy it from a store. I didn’t weight the final ball of dough, though, so maybe per pound it is more expensive.

I used the awesome pasta roller Papa Amherst loaned me to roll the dough out to level seven (the thinnest!) with minimal tearing of the dough. It was still harder doing it solo, but oh well, right? Instead of making fat fettuccini noodles, I made little angel hair noodles. These went through really easily – I was expecting a struggle.
While I was doing other things in the kitchen, I let the plops of angel hair pasta sit on a cookie sheet in my fridge. See – it’s a lot of pasta from just one cup of flour and an egg.

What else was I doing? Making awesome garlic knots! Seriously, these are the best garlic knots ever and they are now solidly in my repertoire. Slick had never had them before, and he really liked them.

They were so awesome that I ate about half of them (I made a double batch) and later had a crazy case of Toofulltummitis and Garlicpootia. (Again, Albany John, sorry about that late-night Garlicpootia… my bad. I’m still gonna eat a crazy amount of garlic knots, but still… my bad, dude)

The pasta cooked up very quickly – maybe 2 minutes, max. I overloaded the pan I cooked it in though, so some pasta clumped together into gummy balls (tee hee, gummy balls). If I hadn’t been using my big pasta pot for making marinara, it would have come out perfectly. Overall though, not too much loss and some nice and tender pasta! I was more concerned with trying not to overcook it since fresh pasta cooks so darned quickly.

I’d also made a quickie marinara sauce before anything else. It’s basically like a vegan version of Bolognese sauce or a ragu. When I say quickie, I mean I only let it simmer for about an hour instead of 2-3 hours.

For the sauce I just diced up an whole yellow onion (it was a big guy, over 1 lb) and sautéed it in some olive oil and a smidge of salt for about 10 minutes. Then I added in about half a bulb of minced garlic (around 10 cloves) and let that sautee for a few minutes until fragrant and added crushed tomatoes and dried herbs.

I added another big scoop of sauce over this pasta after I’d mixed the sauce in (and that fakey processed cheese in a jar I love so much). Yummy. I can see why Italians also call this “gravy”. It was thick and chunky with tomatoey goodness, and it did remind me of a hearty gravy. This is definitely a meal you can feed to vegans and carnivores alike.
Slick is a carnivore (and a really vocal one at that “Do we have any meat?” “Man, I looooove meat.” “I love meat so much, I can really eat a lot of it”, etc.), but this was one meal he didn’t ask for meat. Our budget doesn’t really allow room for meat every day, so it’s nice to find a dish where the addition or absence of meat goes unnoticed and the dish as a whole is really enjoyed.
Personally, I am liking the marinara sauce just because it’s a little lighter (hey, it’s not winter just yet!) than ragu or Bolognese, so I really taste the tomatoes in the sauce being enhanced by the herbs and veggies. Sometimes you want a dish that is both light and heavy at the same time, no?

9 thoughts on “Pasta Marinara & Garlic Knots”

  1. i love, LOVE to make my own sauce – it is so much less expensive and better for you than the jarred sauce -plus, the way the house smells from the garlic cooking in the oil – remind me of childhood..:) i wait until the sauce has about 1/2 hour left to simmer and add a pinch of sugar – it helps with the bitterness – but taste it first – might not need it…yummy – think ill make a pot this weekend..thanks for the idea…:)

  2. cw – it's so fun, isn't it?! And it really isn't all that much work (for such a huge payoff). I do it in bulk so I've got tons to freeze and eat later. Thankfully the brand I have isn't bitter and sweetens nicely. I can't do sugar in the sauce usually – it gives me an awful stomachache!

  3. I also noticed the $.07 egg.
    Poor sad chickens lay $.07 eggs.

    There are a lot of places the Fussy's cut corners on their food budget. But I hold the line on eggs.

    It's that whole cruelty thing. Sure it may be inherently cruel to steal an animals eggs and eat them in the first place. But at least I can try and make sure they've otherwise had a good life.

    How hypocritical is that?

    So I pay about $.25 per egg and maybe eat a few less than I would otherwise.

    Can I get down off my soapbox now?

  4. You guys are spot on on the eggs. I usually just buy them from Stewart's, so they are most likely un-happy eggs. I do like the Cornell Farms eggs from the Co-Op, but lately that's been too much of a haul for me to get over to. I try to justify to myself that walking a few blocks might be okay versus driving several miles. (And then comes the driving vs biking question)

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