Marvelous Marinara Sauce

Everyone has those nights – you’ve worked a super long day, you want to come home and eat a comforting, warm, home cooked meal….but you have absolutely no patience to actually cook. Spaghetti (or more accurately, any kind of pasta) in a marinara sauce is probably my go to “comfort food meal,” and while I could just buy jarred pasta sauce…I can actually make a homemade marinara in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Which means I get the exact flavor I want, I know what I’m putting into it, and best of all – I get out my daily aggression by chopping.

This sauce is really versatile, depending on what you’re feeling like that night. The recipe below is just the base sauce, but I’ve been known to add diced chicken (for a faster, lighter version of chicken Parmesan), ground beef or turkey, and a variety of vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes) as it sounded good.

You’ll need:

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I just like the texture better, but you can use tomato sauce here if you’d prefer.)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped (I’ve been known to use a whole head and no, I’m not ashamed.)
  • 1 onion (Small, medium or large depends on how much you – or the people you’re cooking for – like onion.)
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup – ¾ cup red wine
  • 2 T basil
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 t rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T brown sugar (Optional, if you like a sweeter pasta sauce.)
  • 1 pound of your favorite pasta

Get cooking:

  1. Get water on to boil and boil pasta according to package instructions/to your preference.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil.
  3. Once oil is warm, add onion (and meat/veggies, if using) and saute about 5 minutes, until onions are softened.
  4. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more, or until meat is done (if using.)
  5. Add wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon/flat whisk (the fancy name for this is ‘deglaze”) and reduce by about half.
  6. Add tomato sauce and spices. Bring to boil, then let simmer until pasta is done.
  7. I always throw my pasta in the pan with my sauce and let them cook together for a minute or two, but that is totally up to you. Either way, dinner’s served! Don’t forget to top with Parmesan cheese.
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