Oh, Whole Foods, how you've spoiled me. Your $1.99 jar of pesto-marinara has become a staple in my pantry. So much so that when confronted with an empty cupboard yesterday, I almost made a quick run to the store. I faced a dilemma - what is actually lazier? Running to the store because I am too lazy to make sauce by hand, or making sauce by hand because I am too lazy to run to the store? Not wanting to leave the house won out. Plus, I have fresh basil that has managed to survive on my balcony for over two weeks now, which is my personal record.
My spaghetti sauce "recipe" comes from my mom, and I think it might have been the first thing I learned how to cook.
Basic Spaghetti Sauce
~ 1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp dried basil (or a nice bunch of fresh basil)
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
Saute the onion and the garlic in olive oil over medium low heat, until soft. Add the dried spices (leave the basil out if you are using fresh) and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste (add the fresh basil after this step).
That's it. Now turn the heat down to low and let it simmer. It's better if it cooks longer (2 hours is not unheard of, in my mom's house). If it starts getting too thick for you, stir in a little water. You can adjust the spices to your liking. I have a heavy hand with the pepper, but I'm sure some people prefer less. Sometimes I add a splash of balsamic. You know, if I'm feeling crazy. I think my mom puts cumin in there, but I can't swear to it.
I will still stock up on Whole Foods prepared sauce, but there is something a little special about homemade marinara as it bubbles on the stove. And I'm glad my laziness paid off, for once, and reminded me how lovely it is to start from scratch.