Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simple Marinara Sauce

Adam's favorite meal, hands down, is spaghetti and meatballs. It was his first dinner request when I got my immersion blender back from my sister, and it's always the meal asked for on his birthday. The whole "spaghetti on my birthday" thing is strange to me, but hey, it's whatever he wants, right? Not to mention it's a super easy no-frills meal to put together.

Since it's been my job to take over making the spaghetti birthday meals, I've been on the search for a solid marinara recipe. I made my first attempt a few years ago, and while it was good, it wasn't "wow". Since then I've tried a few more, but none have really blown me away. (Although it is marinara, so I'm not exactly sure what I'm expecting here...)

I found this recipe through a recommendation of a friend. It's fairly simple and straight forward, the hardest part, if you can even call it that, is dicing up the veggies. Then, as with most marinaras, you just let it sit and bubble away for a while, which is when all the "flavor magic" happens and it all melds together.

Simple Marinara

Adapted from: Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
64 ounces crushed tomatoes (2 28-ounce cans and 1 8-ounce can)
2 dried bay leaves

In a dutch oven (or large pot), warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the next four ingredients (through pepper) and cook until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer, uncovered, over low heat 1 hour, or until the sauce thickens. Discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender), puree the sauce until the consistency desired is achieved.

Yields: about 2 quarts

Since this marinara is lacking basil, oregano, and other strong herbal notes, it's very versatile. We've used it on spaghetti to pizza, and it works beautifully each time. The sauce didn't exactly "wow" me with flavor, but, as I said, it's missing many of those herbs we're so used to in the jarred varieties. As a base though, it's a great start (not to mention it freezes exceptionally well).

Nutrition Facts - per 1/4 cup
Amount per serving
Calories 58Calories from fat 31
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.4g5%
Saturated Fat 0.0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 150mg6%
Total Carbs 5.9g2%
Dietary Fiber 2.1g9%
Sugars 3.7g
Protein 1.6g
Vitamin A 24%Vitamin C 9%
Calcium 3%Iron 5%


  1. This looks so yummy!! I've never made my own sauce before, that's usually Lucas' job, but now I think I can do it with this recipe!!

  2. I've made this one before...you're right, it's so versatile. Great for the freezer :)

  3. We have recently stopped buying jarred sauce and started making our own. This looks really simple, I will have to try it out!

  4. Simple but delicious! Making sauce is just as easy as going the store to buy some and the end result is so much better. Giada never fails! Great pictures :)

  5. Mmmm spaghetti and meatballs is probably in the top 10 on my menu too. I could go back to it again and again. I love a great read sauce.

  6. Everyone needs a go to sauce recipe...this one looks fantastic! I like that it makes a decent amount as well....perfect for families!! There is just something so satsifying about a great spaghetti meatballs (although not my choice for a birthday meal!).



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