Try this homemade marinara in place of the store-bought out-of-a-jar kind. Using fresh ingredients gives us the power to control how much sugar, salt, fat, and chemicals are in our food. Not to mention this sauce is loaded with vegetables. Just 1/2 cup equals a full serving of vegetables! A Delicious way to get your 5-a-day.
Over the years I have tweaked this recipe to my liking. When you see the ingredients, you would think it would be pretty basic. But it seems it tastes different every time I make it, depending on how sweet the carrots and celery end up. So be sure to tweak it to your taste. I like mine thick and chunky but you may like yours thin and smooth. If so, try blending the sauce.
In a large saucepan saute carrots, celery and onion with olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute or so, being careful not to burn (because it will end up tasting bitter).
Add 2 cans crushed tomato, 2 bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer one hour. Remove bay leaves and add a pinch of sugar to taste (depending on how sweet the vegetables are). Doesn't need much, maybe up to 2 teaspoons.
Our favorite thing to do with this marinara is to add a bit of ricotta cheese to make it oh-so-creamy and serve over tortellini. Even better with some chopped fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Be sure to use a good brand of crushed tomatoes (not store brand, it does make a difference). I get this huge can at Sam's.
I usually double this recipe, then separate in freezer bags and use when needed.