Recipe: Hearty Marinara Sauce

by Carmela Loggia

Marinara SauceDoes making your own marinara sauce bring to mind visions of slaving over a hot stove for hours -- stirring and tasting...tasting and stirring?

This recipe will alter your perception! Making marinara sauce couldn't be easier. Really!

We don't have exotic ingredients or fancy cooking methods in our recipe. What we do have is simplicity with fresh veggies and herbs coupled with sweet-tart tomatoes.

We challenge you to pit this sauce and a jar of your current favorite against one another and see which one tickles your tongue more!

Hearty Marinara Sauce

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes | Total time: 2 hours | Yield: about 2 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

• 2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
• 12 cups peeled and seeded fresh ripe tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (1 teaspoon dried)
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (1/2 teaspoon dried)
• 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1/2 teaspoon dried)
• 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
• 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
• salt and pepper

Directions

Chop onions, carrots and celery. Set aside. Chop fresh herbs and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery. Sauté, until onions are golden brown and the other vegetables are soft. Add garlic and dried herbs (add fresh herbs closer to end of cooking for best flavor). Cook three minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine. Cook an additional two minutes.

Add tomatoes and their juice, stirring to combine. Mash the tomatoes coarsely with a potato masher or one of those fancy stick blenders.

Bring the sauce to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally for about two hours.

When the sauce is almost thick enough, add fresh herbs (if you're using dried herbs, add those with the garlic). Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed, to taste.

Cook's Notes

"Hurry up" the sauce by using Roma or other sauce tomatoes. Reduce the cooking time further by replacing a cup of the tomatoes with a tube or small can of tomato paste.

Switch up the flavor by sautéing mushrooms, sausage or bell peppers. Add these to the simmer step. Share your favorite marinara add-in's in comments.

Do you have to use red wine? No, but it does add flavor and if you're going to have wine with dinner anyway, or have an open bottle, throw some in!

Have leftovers? Divide them among freezer-safe zip-top bags and freeze for up to six months. Pull out a bag for a quick and easy week night meal solution!

What's your favorite recipe? Share in the comments!

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