Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I knew there had to be a decent tomato sauce for pasta that was easy to make, yet didn't come out of a jar! So I pulled out my trusty cookbook by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian. Since it hasn't been tomato season for months, I was happy to note that her marinara recipe calls for canned crushed tomatoes.
I was considering lessening the amount of olive oil, 1/2 cup seems excessive to me, but I do trust Giada. (It really wasn't too oily). I did like that I didn't have to sit and chop everything at once. I chopped the onions and garlic, then while they were cooking chopped the carrots and celery. It's really quite simple.
Other than that, medium-high was a bit too high for the onions and vegetables, so I reduced the heat to just under medium. It could simply be my burner (it's a big one), so for the simmer I moved to a different burner. Just keep an eye on things so they don't get too brown before you add the tomatoes.
Giada says this is the basic tomato sauce she uses the most, and this recipe makes a healthy amount (probably enough for freezing). Giada doubles the recipe and freezes half in two-cup portions, which gets another vote from me!
Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups) 1 quart will serve 4 over pasta as a first course
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (the only size I had were 28-ounce, so that's what I used)
2 dried bay leaves
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.
The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.
Store extra sauce by allowing it to cool completely, then pour two-cup portions into freezer bags and freeze for up to three months.