Homemade Marinara Sauce

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I learned how to make marinara sauce back in high school. I was studying at a friend’s house, and his mother invited me to stay for dinner. As a teenager with good home training, I offered my help in whatever capacity I was needed. His mother wouldn’t hear of putting a guest to work, so I pulled up a stool at the counter and kept her company while she cooked. She said she appreciated the company since her family only showed up in the kitchen after all the work was done and dinner was ready.

The menu was simple: angel hair pasta, salad, and bread. The meal was amazing! I grew up on jarred sauce, so the idea of marinara sauce made from scratch was almost mystical to me. It turned out that making homemade marinara sauce was not complicated at all, and no special culinary skills were required.

After that night, I tried to schedule as many study dates as possible. And after the second dinner, I was no longer a guest, and I was quickly put to work in the kitchen to earn my supper from then on.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Homemade Marinara Sauce
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed and torn

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, sugar, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Partially cover the saucepan with a lid, bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta or cool completely and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 1 month.

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