Classic Marinara

Just like Mom makes. Well, just like Mom would make if my mom was Italian. She’s a great cook, don’t get me wrong. But if had a picture in your head of a little Italian mama slaving away over the stove, that’s not my mom. Oh, my mom slaves over the stove and makes amazing meals. She’s just not Italian.

I’ve been using this recipe for about four years, which is as long as I’ve really been cooking well. The first time I made it, I was amazed. It was so easy and so different than the jarred pasta sauces I’d gotten used to eating in college. After that first batch, I swore I’d never go back to sauce in a jar again. And I haven’t. This is just too simple and too good. There’s also an added bonus. This is a double recipe, so you can use half the day you make it and freeze the other half for another day!

classic marinara
Classic Marinara Sauce
Giada deLaurentiis


1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (I like to use fire-roasted)
2 dried bay leaves


1. In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.

4. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

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