Nobody can beat my mother's marinara sauce, but I think I may have come close. I pinched this recipe from a fellow blogger, and tweaked it to my tastes. Whenever I make a recipe that calls for tomato sauce, this is the one I use. It's scented with balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, and orange zest, then simmered for hours until it's thick and jammy. I love putting up a pot on a lazy afternoon, letting it simmer, then freezing the sauce in portions to have whenever I feel like it. —ieatthepeach
about 5 cups
large white or yellow onion, finely diced
garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
(28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
3-inch cinnamon stick
finely grated orange zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In This Recipe
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, or until the onions are golden and sweet. Add garlic and chili flake, and cook, stirring frequently, for another 8-10 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and the onions are amber-colored. Use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to break the garlic up into chunks.
Add tomatoes, then rinse out each can with about 1/2 cup water (1 cup total) and add the water to the pot. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks (you can make this as chunky or smooth as you want, keeping in mind that the tomatoes will break down a bit more as the sauce simmers). Stir in vinegar, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, orange zest, salt, and pepper.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, or until the sauce has thickened and coalesced. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve however you like.
The sauce gets even better the next day. It’ll keep in a covered container in the fridge for about 4 days, or in the freezer for 4-6 months.