I'm grading papers (response paragraphs on Surprised by Joy) and listening to Solas (awesome) and looking out my big front windows (September breezes tossing the maple tree) and smelling marinara sauce (wafting through the house as it bubbles in the crockpot). So thankful for this job.
Simply Perfect Marinara Sauce
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1/8 t ground cayenne pepper
2 oz red wine*
black pepper and fresh herbs to taste**
Combine everything in a crockpot or large cooking pot. Simmer for several hours. I just put the crockpot on low for three or four hours, and it was perfect. In a pot on the stove, I'd probably bring it to a boil and then reduce it to the lowest setting, then simmer it for a while. I prefer doing it in the crockpot though, since there is less chance of it burning.
Since this is such a simple recipe, I think using good tomatoes will go a long way. Better ingredients, better flavor. That's my philosophy. I'd rather use quality ingredients and do less to them, than start with iffy materials and take fifty steps to make dinner. Fresh carrots don't need much to make them taste good, but canned peas do.
Mmm. Spaghetti and meatballs tonight, and the extra sauce goes in the freezer. :o)
* optional but highly recommended . . . I used a Concha y Toro Frontera merlot that was in the fridge, but I'm sure a cheap cooking wine would be fine too
**I didn't add any herbs this time and it still tastes amazing, so while basil and parsley and oregano are great, a plainer sauce is easier and just as delicious . . . though that could be the merlot talking.