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Simple Marinara Sauce Recipe

I love this bright, yummy tomato sauce and I make it probably once a week just to have around and sop up with bread, put on pasta, etc! It's so easy! And molto bene. The process of extracting each ingredient's flavor, one-by-one, makes the sauce incredibly flavorful and blending the sauce at the right moment makes it incredibly rich (Candice was convinced that I'd added cream!). Do it right once and your life will be changed forever! Here's my simple marinara sauce recipe:

Get 2 20 oz. cans of San Marzano tomatoes (whole, peeled), half a yellow Spanish onion, 4 cloves of garlic and some basil.

Heat dutch oven on the stove with a medium-high flame. Once hot, glug in some olive oil (don't be shy, glug it) and toss in onion, roughly chopped and garlic, smashed. No need to get either too fine; you'll be blending later!

When onions are translucent and your home smells like that glorious moment when a pod of garlic is leaking out its garlicky essence into your heavy-bottomed pan, season with salt (I don't put in any pepper, but I guess if you wanted to, you'd do it here) and IF YOU'RE USING DRIED BASIL, toss it in now. (IF YOU'RE USING FRESH BASIL, save for later!) Stir it around a little until you're confident that the garlics have given your pot everything they've got.


Open up your cans of San Marzanos and use your hands to cradle out each tomato, crushing with your hands gently and dropping into your pot. Don't squeeze too vigorously, or there will be tomato juice all over your kitchen/face/clothes. Can you tell that I learned this the hard way?

Once you've squished every tomato, pour in the rest of the liquid from each can and maybe a little bit of extra water; I sometimes fill each can with about 1/3 c. of water and swish it around to get every ounce of tomatoeyness off the insides of the can, then dump it in the pot.

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IF YOU'RE USING FRESH BASIL, throw some in now. I include the stalks and just tear it up a bit with my hands.

Bring your sauce to a simmer for like five minutes and then lower the heat, letting it cool slightly. If you're using fresh basil, the right timing to turn off the heat is when the stalks are tender. Get out your immersion blender and go to town!

Once blended, bring back up to a boil, down to a simmer and let it go for no more than 20-30 minutes. You want just enough time to cook off any tinny, canned flavor and not too much more. This is a bright, yummy sauce, not a Sunday "gravy" as some people in these parts like to call it (more like a ragu).

Taste, season, and serve with pasta, gnocchi, meatballs, etc! You can also store in your refrigerator for up to a week or in your freezer for longer. Click here for an image of the final product!

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