Around the Christmas holiday I made a big batch of homemade marinara sauce. My intent was to use half of it that night for spaghetti and meatballs then use the rest to make an awesome penne al vodka when some friends visited us for New Years. Well the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition and the second half of the marinara as been sitting in my freezer for about a month. Today I decided was the perfect day to dig it out and use it on my pasta dish tonight. I want some tasty for Friday dinner but I know I’m not going to have the energy for a big effort meal. So its leftover marinara sauce dressed up with mushrooms, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and served over tortellini.
The awesome thing about a big batch of marinara is that it can be the basis for so many different delicious dishes. You can serve it over pasta of course. You can add vodka and heavy cream to transform it into an outstanding vodka sauce. Marinara is also a key ingredient for several other tasty dishes. It is essential if you want to make bracciola. If you puree it and cook it down a little it makes awesome pizza sauce. Want to make eggplant or chicken parmesan, lasagna; you need a marinara. It also is a great dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, fried polenta, breadsticks or fried calamari.
My recipe is based on the one in Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian cookbook. I omit the carrots, add 1 1/2 times the celery and onion, and add garlic.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 small onions, finely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 (32 ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
- 2 dried bay leaves
- In a large pot, heat the oil on medium high.
- Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, 10 minutes.
- Add the celery, salt and pepper. Saute until all the celery softens, 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves.