Homemade Holiday Gift Guide

Project 5:  Merry Marinara

This year, since we already planned on making the Vinaigrette and Rosemary Garlic Salt, Becky and I decided to round out our holiday gifts with another Italian themed creations – Merry Marinara.  I plan to include this sauce in a gift basket with the dressing and salt, as well as a pack of pasta or two.     

Now, the actual recipe for this sauce was one of the first posted on our blog, and ever since Becky posted it, this sauce has become a kitchen staple of mine.  Last month, when my sister and I threw my parents a 60th birthday party, I even made this sauce to feed all our hungry guests.  It was a hit served up with meatballs, ravioli, and pepperoni rolls.

To Create:

Follow our Basic Marinara Recipe.  Instead of leaving in the pancetta after rendering off the fat, however, we did strain it out before adding the remaining ingredients.  We also added a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the sauce pot before simmering and only used dried seasonings.

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Never mind my horrible camera phone photo!

Once you have your sauce cooked and about room temperature, you’ll want to can it in mason jars.  We sterilized jars/lids/rims for 10 minutes and also let the filled jars sit in the canning bath for another 10.  Make sure all your jars are sealed after they come out of the bath.  You can usually hear them pop closed after about 5 minutes. If you’ve never canned, this video is a good start on learning.  If you don’t have any canning supplies, here is a nice set to get you started.  And don’t forget the rack!!  Becky and I had our first exploding jars this year.  Opps. 

To decorate: 

Cut a round of holiday themed fabric and place over the lid. We found that the round of fabric needed to be much bigger than the jar lid to fit nicely around the far. Attach a pretty label and hold the fabric in place with pretty ribbon and mini ornament for a finishing touch.  It was also helpful to put a small piece of double sided tape in the middle of the lid to attach the fabric so it doesn’t move while you are attaching the ribbon.  

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