For quite a long time, I was a big believer in jarred Marinara Sauce. Prego was my favorite and it certainly still does in a pinch. I have, however, in the last couple of years enjoyed making my own Marinara as I can often make a big enough batch to freeze half and be able to serve it later. Making your own sauce often proves cost-effective and is a great way to utilize whatever fresh herbs and vegetables you have on hand. I tried several different variations of a recipe before deciding on the one below as my current favorite. As with anything else, it can be tweaked to your family's preferences. We like a thicker marinara sauce so this works for us-- but feel free to change it to make it your own!!! (Unfortunately, I do not have a recent photo-- but since I know that photos really are the reason some of you read this blog, I have attached a photo of an Italian Soup I made with this sauce as a base-- perhaps I will share this recipe sometime soon.)
Cindy Lou's Marinara Sauce
1-2 tbs. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced (or minced if you like)*
1/2 an onion, diced
1- 6oz. can of tomato paste
1- large can (28 oz.) of crushed tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of fresh basil, diced*
1/4 cup of fresh oregano, torn*
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbs. Sugar
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, saute the onion and garlic in the Olive Oil over medium heat until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly until the onions and garlic are coated. Add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato sauce and stir well. Add the remainder of the ingredients and heat well while stirring constantly. Lower heat to low and simmer while covered for at least 25 minutes so that the flavors can deepen. Stir occasionally. Serve over hot pasta; as a base for Italian Soup; or you could just stand over the stove and eat it with a spoon...
This sauce freezes and reheats beautifully! Occasionally, we will make a double batch of this and meatballs and freeze them both separately only to warm them up another day for a quick and easy dinner-- Just boil pasta and there you go-- instant dinner!
*Note: In many instances, I have used dried herbs, garlic, onion and Parmesan when I have not had fresh ingredients on hand. This does not affect the taste and often makes the sauce more convenient to make--especially in the winter when our herb garden is dormant!