Mmm Mmm Marinara Sauce
I love Italian food. I could probably eat it every day, and with all the variety that it has, I doubt I'd get sick of it! There is nothing quite like a delicious marinara sauce, so I wanted to share the recipe I've settled on, which is a mix of my mom's recipe, Cooking Light's recipe, and my own little pieces.
First, something to know about my mom's cooking style: She is a "little of this, little of that" type of cook. When I was first married and called her to get her spaghetti sauce recipe, she could barely even tell me what she did because it was so much by taste. I managed to get the basics out of her, though, although there is nothing quite like her sauce when she makes it.
Second, this recipe doesn't use fresh tomatoes. You surely can if you choose, but I like the simplicity and taste of crushed tomatoes in a can, so that's what works for me.
2 cans crushed tomatoes (or one large can)
*Check to make sure that tomatoes is first on the ingredients list, if possible.
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
red pepper flakes
(or use Italian seasoning if you have that)
balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (more if you like)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground pepper
1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and cook about five minutes, until translucent.
2. Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
3. Add 1 - 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it.
4. Add dried spices. I add about a couple of teaspoons of each because I love their flavor, but you may want to start with a teaspoon of each. Sometimes I throw in other dried herbs, like sage or parsley, or sometimes I add dried Italian seasoning. Stir them in, so their flavor comes out and mixes with the onion and garlic.
5. Add crushed tomato, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir well.
6. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
7. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt and pepper. Add 1 T of vinegar. Taste it! Add more salt if needed, and add more vinegar to cut the sweetness if you like it a bit more tart (like me).
8. Serve over pasta and top with chopped fresh basil.