I make a lot of pastas and pizzas…. A LOT.
But I can’t help it – I’m Italian! Well, pretty sure I was in a past life at least.
So when a gal cooks a ton of pastas and pizzas, a gal has got to have a trusty marinara sauce that she can rely on. And I just so happen to have a great one that’s quite easy to make, especially in large batches.
First, wrangle up some basic ingredients. A few aromatics, a couple of herbs & spices and of course, tomatoes. I prefer San Marzano tomatoes but any canned plum tomato will be fine.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and cook down some onions and garlic. Throw in some red chili flakes, oregano, fennel seeds and cook for an additional minute or two.
While the aromatics are doing their magic, crush up a few cans of tomatoes. And because it’s fun to play with your food, I use my hands to do this.
Add the crushed tomatoes and the juices to the pot and stir in some chopped Italian parsley and bay leaves.
Simmer the ingredients, partially covered until it has reduced and thickened.
Add the basil and puree the ingredients until smooth. Season with additional salt, pepper and that’s it!
Simple to make and a delicious addition to any recipe that calls for a marinara. The sauce also freezes beautifully so you can always have it on hand.
Told ya it was easy.
Makes about 6 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes (or standard plum tomatoes)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar, as needed
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until they have become soft and translucent. Stir in the red chili flakes, oregano, fennel seeds and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
While the aromatics cook, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl with its juices. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes and discard any tough core pieces that may remain. Pour the crushed tomatoes and juices into the pot. Stir in the parsley and bay leaves. Allow the contents to come to a soft boil. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered.
Allow the sauce to simmer for 30-40 minutes, occasionally stirring. Once the sauce has thickened and reduced, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or standard blender), puree the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Depending on the tomatoes, you may need to add a bit of sugar to cut down some of the acidity.
The sauce can be used immediately or can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 3 days. You may also freeze the sauce for up to a few months, however, this recipe is not intended for pressure canning/jarring. Pressure canning/jarring recipes require a high amount of acidity to avoid harmful bacteria.