I decided to venture into the homemade sauce making area this week. I know some recipes require you to be in the kitchen for hours making a delicious masterpiece but I don’t have time for that or the patience. The recipe I chose is from Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook which I don’t use often enough. But last week I told Mike I wanted to try making our own pasta sauce and he was all for it. So I figured Giada would have something wonderful in her cookbook and sure enough she did! This sauce took about an hour and a half to make so be sure you have enough time or make it a day ahead of time.
Here are Mike’s thoughts on this sauce:
“You need to use the fancy plate for the fancy sauce.”
“This is one of the best dishes you’ve made as of recently.”
The sauce is a really good base for other sauces as well. You can add heavy cream and spice to make a vodka sauce or simply add some ground meat to make a meat sauce. I decided to make it as is the first time to see how it turned out.
The carrots and celery seem like an odd addition to marinara sauce but because they simmer in the sauce for about an hour they are soft and you can hardly taste them. I’m not a huge fan of carrots and even I ate them (after dicing them really small)! We also added some extra flavor to the sauce- Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.
I’ve read that using whole canned tomatoes can result in a bitter sauce due to the seeds and some people need to add a little sugar to tame the bitterness. I used crushed tomatoes and there wasn’t a need for sugar, there was probably some in the canned tomatoes already.
We had the marinara sauce with whole wheat rotini and Skinnytaste’s Baked Chicken Parmesan. It turned out to be a delicious Italian feast!
Giada’s Marinara Sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2- 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Red pepper flakes, season to taste
Italian seasoning, season to taste
1. In a large pot, such as a dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about ten minutes. Add garlic after the first 8 minutes. Next add celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about ten more minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Add more salt and pepper plus red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Simmer uncovered for about an hour. Taste the sauce halfway through to see if more seasoning is needed. After an hour remove the bay leaves. Serve with your favorite pasta.
Enjoy! You can make the sauce a day ahead of time and reheat it. Let the sauce cool and then refrigerate.
You can also freeze the sauce.