Thursday, December 20, 2012

Classic Marinara Sauce

For as long as I can remember, I've been a HUGE marinara sauce fan.  I always use a significant amount (read: too much) on my pasta or pretty much any other Italian food which it seems like acceptable to use red sauce.

However, up until now, I hadn't really found a marinara recipe that I liked.  They all had something that wasn't quite right - too sweet, too tangy, too watery, etc, etc.  I was so glad that I stumbled on this recipe because, to me, it was the perfect balance of all the flavors and exactly what marinara sauce should taste like.  And it couldn't have come at a better time because with our baby due this month (!!!!), I've been wanting to make things that freeze easily and can be turned into a quick meal.  This marinara sauce fit the bill exactly. 

I'm also excited to try this on homemade pizza because I think it'll make a good pizza sauce, too. 

Classic Marinara Sauce
Taken from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Makes about 7 cups of sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (28-ounce each) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter (optional but delicious; I use 1 tbsp)
  1.  In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring very frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot, until slightly thickened and the vegetables are completely tender. Stir in the brown sugar. Taste the sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add the butter and stir to combine if you want to round out the flavors and add a dimension of silkiness.
  2. Remove the bay leaves. In a blender or food processor (or with a hand blender), blend the sauce (in several batches, if necessary) until it is the consistency you like (most people probably like the sauce to be smooth but since we like it on the chunkier side, I only blend about half the sauce).
  3. The sauce can be frozen once it is cooled completely in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to 6 months.


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