A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

The best Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce [I've ever made].

Every once in a while, when I learn a recipe that's so unbelievably simple and delicious, I feel like it's my duty to impart this knowledge.  I've been attempting to make the best marinara sauce possible for years now. I grew up around Italians: cooking Italian and eating Italian. I somehow never fully grasped that perfect "sauce" [or "gravy" as some like to call it].  

That was until recently, when I stumbled upon this Giada De Laurentiis recipe for a simple marinara sauce. I'm not always a fan of her cooking, but I will say, she has a knack for making quick, simple recipes. I have no idea how just a few ingredients can somehow transform into a delicious sauce, but this took hardly any effort to make and was so unbelievably close to what I ate as a kid in the best Italian restaurants in New York.  

Here's the recipe as Giada makes it.  I simplified it a little further, partly because I was missing a few ingredients, but it turned out fantastic.  Here's my version of the sauce:

  • Jo's Simple Marinara Sauce
  • 2 28-ounce cans Whole San Marzano Tomatoes [San Marzano makes all the difference here, and Cento is my go-to brand anytime I need tomatoes]
  • 3 garlic cloves, left whole
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 fresh basil leaves [or more...I can't get enough of fresh basil]
Add the tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and bay leaves to a large pot [I use this 3.5 quart braiser for most of my sauces] and simmer on low for an hour. Then remove the bay leaves, and break up any larger chunks of tomato [you can also puree the entire sauce at the end if you want a smooth consistency]. Add the butter and basil leaves. Cover the sauce and let it simmer while you wait for your pasta.

I fell in love with this brand of pasta recently.  

Montebello tastes as close to fresh pasta as I've ever had here in the states.  Apparently, this pasta is made with locally grown wheat in Italy and its coarse texture is achieved with a bronze hand-crafted die.

Once your pasta is al dente, just add it to your sauce and  thin out with a spoonful of pasta water if needed.

I like to add some extra torn fresh basil on top.  The sauce is on the acidic side, but I love a sauce with a nice bite to it.  For a little spice, add some red pepper flakes when you add the butter and basil.  Yum.