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Marinara Sauce

I am a picky eater. There, I said it. My extended family has these stories of me as a willful child, sitting at the dinner table for hours because I wouldn’t eat something on my plate. I nearly always won those battles, by the way. I’ve always had certain foods I’ve irrationally not liked, things I simply refuse to eat. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, just an adamant, unwavering commitment to avoiding them.

As I’ve gotten older and learned to cook, my pickiness has taken a turn toward the slightly more reasonable: snobbery. Now there are certain foods that I don’t really eat unless I’ve made them. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong or bad about them, it’s more that…I like mine better.

The clearest example is definitely red sauce/marinara/gravy. Once I figured out just how simple it was to make it for myself, with my preferences in seasoning and thickness, there was no going back.

Pot plus olive oil


Diced and sauteed

Garlic, lots


Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and water




If you’re making pizza sauce, throw a blending step in there somewhere. If you’re using it in a baked dish, reduce it even further. If you’re just throwing it on top of some fresh pasta, eat it right from the pot. There’s no limit to the tweaks you can make to it. And it leaves all those jar sauces in the dust every single time.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic, well minced
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
dried oregano
dried basil
black pepper
whatever seasoning your heart desires
1 tablespoon sugar

1 large pot
cutting board
good knife

1. Dice the onion and saute in olive oil until translucent but before carmelizing
2. Add garlic and stir
3. After thirty seconds, add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste
4. Using one of the crushed tomato cans, add 2 cans worth of water
5. Stir
6. Cook uncovered for about 2 hours, until volume has gone down nearly two inches on the side of the pot
7. Add seasonings to taste
8. Cook uncovered for another hour
9. Stir in sugar
10. Serve or freeze

I wish I had taken a picture of it, but filling a gallon bag, pressing out all the air and freezing the bag horizontally flat is the best method for keeping sauce long term.

So, what foods are you a snob about?