Our Type of Frozen Dinner: Marinara / by Alice Zhao

Serrano Ham CanapeOn a day we really didn't feel like cooking, Jared rifled through our freezer to find a container full of marinara he made a few months ago for exactly an occasion like this. Plus we already had some goodies leftover from our trip to Fox and Obel. No trip to a fancy super market is complete without a few slices of Serrano ham (well, that's because we can't afford Iberico!). Normally we eat it with some French bread and slather on some tripe cream brie. This time we tried to go a somewhat healthier route and used the homemade marinara. We cut the french bread into rounds and toasted them, spooned on some of the marinara sauce and topped it with a slice of Serrano ham. Extremely simple, yet this really took me back to our trip to Barcelona several years ago where we ended up eating quite a few serrano ham and tomato sauce sandwiches for lunch. mmmh jamón
Serrano Ham Canape

Marinara Sauce
(freezes and keeps really well)

1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 shallots
6 ripe roma tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste


  • dice the shallots and onion and mince the garlic
  • in a pan on medium heat add 1 tsb of olive oil
  • sautee the onion/garlic/shallots until onion is translucent. Reduce the heat if you need to, to prevent burning the garlic
  • add the tomato paste and cook for a little longer
  • deglaze the pan with the stock
  • rough chop the tomatoes and add it to the sauce
  • rough chop a few oregano and basil leaves and add to pan
  • turn the heat to low and simmer until it reduces by half
  • use an immersion blender and blend the sauce. be careful of the sauce splashing. If you like you sauce chunky, skip this step
  • reduce the sauce more if you like thicker
  • add salt and pepper to taste, always season at the end, since reducing the liquid will concentrate the salt content.

Shrimp Marinara with Angel Hair Pasta

And for our main meal, he used the same marinara with extra tomatoes we needed to finish off in a pasta and tossed in some grilled shrimp and freshly chopped basil from our garden.

Grilled Shrimp Marinara with Angel Hair Pasta

Serve 2-3


1/2 box Angel hair pasta
1 lb of medium size shrimp de-shelled and de-veined
marinara sauce
grated Parmesan Reggiano (optional)
fresh basil
olive oil


  • marinate the shrimp with oil/salt/pepper
  • heat the grill on high and grill the shrimp about 2 mins per side
  • cook the pasta in salted water until el dente
  • drain the pasta and mix it with the marinara sauce
  • add shrimp to the pasta and mix
  • plate the pasta and garnish with grated parmesan and chopped basil

Note: Add parmesean cheese rind during simmering step for extra flavor