Homemade marinara sauce is the very foundation of great Italian cooking. My Nana Lulu’s homemade marinara sauce was legendary, and my Dad has picked up the torch with his own incredible version. I’ve been working on my own version for years and this one completely hit all the right flavor notes! It was easy to put together. First, I assembled a bundle of herbs and peppercorns to really flavor the homemade marinara sauce without having to strain it. I cut a big square of cheesecloth and layered bay leaves, fresh thyme sprigs, fresh rosemary sprigs and whole black peppercorns on it. Then I bundled it up tightly and tied it with kitchen twine to hold it together.
Then I got out my food processor to puree lots of aromatics. Carrots, celery stalks, an onion, garlic cloves, fresh cherry tomatoes and parsley all went in to my food processor bowl and were pureed together into a smooth mixture. Using the food processor saved me a bunch of prep time and also saved me having to use a blender to smooth the marinara out since I could never get the veggies smooth enough on my own. The pureed aromatics were the perfect texture.
Then everything was ready to go and it was all about layering the flavors of the sauce. I heated olive oil in my sturdy dutch oven over medium high heat. The pureed veggies and aromatics went in to get fragrant for about 2 minutes. Then I stirred in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and allowed them to cook off for another minute. Red wine went in next and it cooked off for another two minutes. Then chicken stock, lots of canned crushed tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan cheese were stirred in. Chicken stock just happened to be what I had handy. If I had vegetable stock then this would have been effortlessly vegetarian. The last touch was to submerge my herb bundle in the sauce. I brought the homemade marinara sauce up to a boil, then reduced it to a simmer to gently bubble away for 2 hours.
While it was cooking I felt like I was back in my Nana Lulu’s kitchen. The aroma of the sauce was just filling the whole house deliciously and also made me so darn hungry! Once it was done, I removed the herb bundle and took the pot off the heat. Then I just portioned it out into pint containers. This way I would know that I had two cup portions ready to go. I knew I was going to use 4 of them quickly, but the other container went into the freezer to use when I needed it. Making this sauce is something I love to do on a Sunday afternoon to just portion out for the week of dinners ahead, like spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parmesan. It is so versatile and fantastic! Enjoy my friends, and buon appetito.