My friend Jenn recently made dinner for us and brought the absolute BEST homemade marinara sauce that I have probably ever consumed. After eating it, I was still craving it days later. It was soooooo good! So, I did what any cook would do...I begged her for the recipe. I decided to make a big batch of it (Jenn told me that it freezes really well) and use some of it in the recipe I was planning for Easter dinner. Many thanks to Jenn for sharing such an awesome sauce recipe!
Jenn Nelson's Fabulous Marinara Sauce
4 Tablespoons of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large garlic cloves - crushed
1/4 yellow onion - chopped
2 medium carrots - finely chopped
2 celery stalks - finely chopped
1 red bell pepper-chopped
1 green bell pepper- chopped
2 Tablespoon fresh oregano - chopped (-OR- use 1 T of dried oregano and crumble in your hands as you add it to release the flavor)
2 Tablespoon fresh basil - chopped/cut (-OR- use 1 T of dried Basil/crumbled in your hand as you add it to release the flavor)
1 Bay leaf
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (choose size according to how much tomato 'chunks' you like in your sauce) -OR- you can add a freshly chopped Roma or grape tomatoes.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (1 inch piece or more)
1 Tsp. Sugar
Kosher Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1) Heat up olive oil in a stock pot, add the next 5 ingredients. Cook over medium/high heat until carrots & peppers are soft and onion is translucent.
2) Add Oregano, Basil and Bay leaf, stir together
3) Add crushed tomatoes, sauce, and diced tomatoes.
4) Add dash of Salt & Cayenne pepper,stir.
5) Add the cheese rind and cook on med/low for an hour, making sure to stir periodically.
6) Add sugar/salt/pepper to taste and cook on low for another 30-45 minutes.
Instead of 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes, I used one large (28oz) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes with the juice. Then, I used a pair of kitchen shears and chopped the tomatoes to the size I wanted in the can right before adding them to the pot.
Also, I added chopped fresh thyme (about 1 Tablespoon)to the herb mixture.