If you find yourself with a ton of tomatoes at the end of summer, one of the best things you can do is make a big batch of marinara. The flavor simply does not compare to the jarred variety, and you can enjoy decadent pasta dinners well into winter. The sauce I make is a memorized culmination of several recipes I’ve made, notably Giada De Laurentiis’ and Lidia Bastianich’s, but here’s how I make mine.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2-3 lbs tomatoes, Roma preferred, cored and chopped
1 dried bay leaf
handful fresh basil
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add onions. Sautée until translucent and add garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables soften, about 20 minutes, then add tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add bay leaf and basil and simmer for at least an hour, but several hours is even better. Add salt and pepper to taste. Unless you have really juice tomatoes, you may need to add some water while cooking.
Allow the sauce to cool slightly. Set up a food mill over a large mixing bowl. Working in small batches, process some or all of the sauce through the mill, depending on how you prefer your sauce consistency.
Store your marinara in serving-sized, airtight containers (I saved mine from takeout hot and sour soup) and freeze.