From a very young age, my mom has made delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. She would spend a weekend making a large batch and then divide it evenly among freezer containers. This made dinner easier weather it was late nights in the barn or playing sports. Because I live in a tiny apartment for now, I don’t have the luxury of a large freezer to make a batch of sauce. That being said, my love for a fresh tomato sauce that is easy, fresh and delicious has not faded.
When I stumbled upon this recipe last fall, I immediately knew it would be a favorite as I try to use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Growing up in California, I became spoiled having such a large variety of fresh produce, fruits, meats, and seafood available. Now that I am in Oklahoma, I have to say I really do miss that about California. But I definitely try to make the best of it!
The nice thing about this recipe is the fact that you can incorporate several ingredients from your summer garden, if you have one, as well as swapping out the proteins. When I feel like splurging a little, I will make this recipe with shrimp instead of the chicken. It tastes delicious and never gets old.
- ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped and drained of oil
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 8 oz. fresh spinach
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz. pasta of your choice (I used the Barilla thin spaghetti.)
- Dice tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and basil; set aside.
- Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces.
- In a large pot on medium heat, pour in the olive oil, chicken and salt and pepper to taste. After it is cooked partially, stir in the garlic.
- Start boiling the water for the pasta.
- Once chicken is fully cooked, turn the heat to low and pour in the Roma tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and basil; mix gently but thoroughly and cook on low heat.
- Once the water is boiling, begin cooking the spaghetti according to the directions on the box.
- Mix spinach in with the chicken, basil, Roma tomato and sundried tomato mixture.
- Drain the water from the pasta; toss with the chicken mixture.
*If using shrimp, cook in a separate pan to ensure they are not overdone. Cook the Roma’s, sundried tomatoes, garlic and basil together; let simmer. Begin cooking the shrimp (have defrosted in a bowl of cold water) in a separate pan with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Once done, add shrimp to the tomato mixture along with the spinach.
*With this recipe, the goal is to wilt the spinach, not overcook it into mush.
Even though I am not a fan of raw tomatoes, I still thoroughly enjoy this recipe. I would not say that these tomatoes are raw but they do have a very different consistency from a traditional marinara sauce. Because of the lighter flavor and consistency, it is perfect for summer!