Delicious homemade marinara is easy and straightforward to make. Mushrooms and onions add depth to the flavor, while basil, oregano, parsley, and bay leaves create the sweet-sharp-fresh notes that characterize authentic Italian marinara. I use grated carrot and a sweet white wine like pinot grigio to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. The result is a complex and richly flavored sauce that is neither too sweet nor too tart, and which can be used in a wide variety of Italian dishes. I like to make this sauce in a huge batch and store the extra in mason jars for future use. It keeps for up to two months in an airtight container in the fridge.
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
(4) 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
(2) 6 oz cans tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 carrot, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano or small handful fresh leaves, stems discarded
1 tsp dried basil or small handful fresh leaves, thinly sliced
1-2 dried bay leaves
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped with stems discarded
1. Heat the olive oil over med-low in a large pot. Add the onion and mushrooms, and saute until the onions are clear but not brown, 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and white wine, stirring to fully mix all the ingredients.
3. Bring the mixture up to a simmer.
4. Add the carrot, garlic, and all spices, stirring to fully incorporate.
5. Reduce heat to low and cover.
6. Simmer covered for 2-3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. After about 1 hour, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Too sweet? Add a little more oregano. Too tart? Add more grated carrot, or add sugar 1 tsp at a time. Too sharp? Add a little more basil.
7. Remove the bay leaves and serve.