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Marinara Sauce

Marinara SauceThere are so many ways to make a simple marinara sauce, but the key to a really good sauce is in the slow simmering. A quick red sauce is good, but a slowly simmered sauce is even better.

Makes about 2 quarts.


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery*, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2-14.5 oz cans whole plum tomatoes
  • 1-6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 c water
  • 1 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. Add the celery, onion and carrots and sprinkle with the salt. Saute about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Saute another minute.
  4. In a large deep bowl, crush the tomatoes, squeezing them with your hands or a potato masher.
  5. Add them to the pot, along with the tomato paste, water, parsley, sugar and bay leaf.
  6. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover loosely. Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring periodically and adding water if needed.
  8. When the flavorings have blended, remove the bay leaf.
  9. Use a food mill, immersion blender, or potato masher to puree the sauce to the consistency you like. (Caution: Do not use a counter-top blender unless the sauce has completely cooled first.)
  10. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve hot with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

*Using a potato parer, peel the outside of the celery stalks to remove the “strings” before chopping.


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