Here’s a blast from the past for you: my second-ever blog entry. Cute, right? When I first started this thing almost two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing with it. If anything, I figured it’d be my food diary, a place where I’d record my daily noshings as well as my random thoughts, ideas, or curiosities about food. Within a few short months, I’d begun posting recipes with step-by-step photos accompanying the instructions, interspersed with posts about eating out or road tripping. It evolved very organically (no pun intended), and though it’s become so much more than I expected initially, I’m nothing but proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown as a home cook and food blogger in general.
Anyway, back to that second entry. In it, I mentioned growing up eating Ragu Old World Style marinara sauce on all my [nutrient-stripped white] pasta. During and after college, I tried every other jarred marinara on the market, and cooked dozens of my own, but none of them satisfied me like smooth, salty, overprocessed Ragu. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since I wrote that post, and haven’t cracked open a jar of Ragu in well over a year. Despite numerous hopeful attempts, however, I had yet to find a suitably flavorful, yet fast and easy, recipe for homemade marinara—until now. This sweet, herby, garlicky sauce is a mélange of so many other recipes and techniques that I can only call it my own. So without further ado, I present to you…my quick-and-perfect marinara sauce. It’d be even better if you learned to grow your own food so you can grab most of the ingredients from the garden.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 10-12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp ground oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic cloves and sauté, stirring often, until softened (about 6-8 minutes). They should be golden and translucent, but not browned. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor.
- Add all remaining ingredients except the parsley. (Variation: if you have an open bottle, try replacing the balsamic vinegar with 1/4 cup of fruity red wine!)
- Purée until smooth. Add the parsley and pulse until just incorporated. Taste for seasoning, and if the sauce seems a little acidic, feel free to add a tablespoon of agave nectar.
Perfetta! Use immediately, or transfer to a large container and refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months. Ladle it over any kind of pasta, put it in lasagna, or just use it as a dip for crusty bread. Better yet, make a batch this weekend, stick it in the fridge, and then check back here Monday for the perfect dish to serve it with!