There 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
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat.
- Add the celery, onion and carrots and sprinkle with the salt. Saute about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Saute another minute.
- In a large deep bowl, crush the tomatoes, squeezing them with your hands or a potato masher.
- Add them to the pot, along with the tomato paste, water, parsley, sugar and bay leaf.
- Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover loosely. Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring periodically and adding water if needed.
- When the flavorings have blended, remove the bay leaf.
- 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.)
- 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.