Made From Scratch: Marinara Sauce

Back in my vegetarian days, I used to joke that I was really a "pastatarian" as pasta with marinara sauce was a mainstay in my dinner plans. Prepackaged pasta + jarred pasta sauce = a super simple (and quick!) dinner after a long day at work.

What I didn't realize back in the day was how simple it really is to make marinara sauce from scratch. Sure, you could make up a batch and let it simmer for hours on the stovetop, but when you're crunched for time, all you need is 20 minutes to make a simple marinara sauce that is full of flavor. And, not only does this mouthwatering savory sauce taste delectable, but as it cooks your kitchen will be filled with the most tantalizing aromas. With a delicious recipe that's so incredibly simple, I don't think I'm ever going back to the jarred stuff.

Marinara Sauce (printer-friendly version)
makes 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), drained and juices reserved
1 bay leaf
sprig of fresh thyme
spring of fresh oregano1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste 

1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Add in the whole peeled tomatoes, lightly crushing them with your hands as you add them to the pot. Stir in the bay leaf, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, and salt. 
3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened.
4. Remove the bay leaf and any stems from the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the sauce with pasta and serve. 
5. Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. 

(adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn