This is my basic sauce I’ve been making for years. It never tastes the same way each time I make it. Sometimes it’s made with all fresh herbs or like this past time it was all dried. On some occasions I use red wine to deglaze the pan once the veggies have been softened. But sadly, I had no red wine on hand this past weekend. What I love about this sauce is you can make it your own and put what you like in it. I love making a huge batch so I can have extra in the freezer. Having marinara sauce on hand is great for those busy weeknight dinners. You can take it out of the freezer and make all sorts of things. Baked ziti, lasagna, spice it up with sausage or meatballs, vodka sauce, the list goes on and on. Later in the week I will be posting my chicken Parmesan recipe, which uses this basic sauce.
My advice is to use this recipe and expand upon it. Just have fun with it! Cooking should always be fun and not a chore.
The key is letting this sauce cook on low for hours. The flavors need time to come together and the sauce will thicken the longer it cooks. You will see the recipe calls for the rind of Parmesan cheese. I only use Parmesan Reggiano. If you don’t have the rind of Parmesan cheese, you can use a 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Sorry for the not so pretty photo. I was so busy with everything I was doing that I forgot to do a photo shoot with it. Luckily I had taken some pictures as I was making it. It was fun trying to figure out all the measurements, since I’ve never measured them before.
Basic Marinara Sauce
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 2tbs olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup + 1tbs dried basil (or use a handful of fresh)
- 2tbs dried oregano
- 2tbs Italian seasoning
- rind of Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup grated parm cheese
- 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1. Add the 2tbs of olive oil to a stock pot set over medium high heat. Saute the onion, carrots and celery till softened. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, about 30-40 seconds.
2. Stir in the red pepper flakes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup of red wine, if using. Cook for a minute (if using the wine, let it reduce down for 2-3 minutes)
3. Reduce the temperature to medium low and add the cans of tomatoes and stir to combine.
4. Stir in all of the dried or fresh herbs along with the rind of Parmesan. Once the sauce is bubbling turn to low and let simmer, partially covered for at least 2 hours or up to 5 hours.
5. Important to note here. DO NOT leave the house. The sauce will need to be stirred every half hour or so. If you don’t stir, the sauce will burn to the bottom.
***If you like a thinner sauce, put it through a blender or food processor, or leave it chunky. The sauce can be separated into freezer containers and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Source: Gina Marie Original