Basic Marinara Sauce

Mike's cousin Michele, of The Occasional Vegetarian, has some great recipes (remember the easy French bread?!) and posted this one on her personal blog not too long ago. Ella has been begging for spaghetti so we decided to have it for our Valentine's dinner (it is red after all). I remembered seeing this recipe and thought I would try it out. It is SOOOO yummy!!! I couldn't stop taste testing it :-). We had enough for I would say 3 full meals too...we ate it last night (I added some cooked ground beef to that portion), I gave some to a friend, and we still had enough to freeze another meal's worth. It was easy and SO worth it!!! (recipe originally from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis)

1/2 c 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 t sea salt, plus more to taste (I used 1 t total)
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste (I used 1 t total)
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat oil over med-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until 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 bay leaves and season with salt and pepper if needed.
* Michele suggested blending it once it was cooked and had cooled a little for a smoother sauce which I did.

My cute little chopping helpers :-).


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

The sauce looks amazing! I'll have to give this one a try, I'm always looking for an awesome red sauce! Your chopping helpers are adorable!! What a lucky woman to have such attractive kitchen helpers :)