A few months ago I got sick, the throwing-up kind. And unfortunately that night we had had spaghetti with my long-time favorite marinara sauce from Trader Joe's. And when I throw something up I can't eat it again for a long, long time. Like when I got food poisoning on Thai food in 1998; I am just coming around to it again. We can't really wait that long for spaghetti sauce around here, so I had to do some thinking. Painful, but possible.
I remembered a homemade marinara I used to make in New York. I guess I just forgot about it, that happens when you have kids and move a couple times. So I got out Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis and tried it again. Wow, no wonder I used to make it. So, so good; I love it. And so do my kids, even Poppy. I like to add a smidgeon more salt, some rosemary or Italian seasoning, and some crushed red pepper for a tiny bit of heat.
It's not a lot of work, no more than homemade soup. Just some chopping and simmering. Really lovely and nice to freeze for later, too. Currently we love it on rigatoni - nice chewy pasta tubes that everyone can get on their fork and Poppy can pick up when cut into 3 or 4 rings. But it's great for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, whatever.
My Favorite Marinara Sauce
Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste (and other seasonings, if desired.) The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead - cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.
Recipe from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis