Ok y’all here’s the deal, I’ve got a tinsy- winsy itty bit of Italian in me. My wonderful hubby on the other hand, well, there is NO question about him. He claims that Italian like we were living in Rome. Being that he clings to that part of himself, another huge part of him is his appetite, and by appetite I mean that this man will consume any form of pasta in a fifty-mile radius for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert, snack… you get the picture. However, I am not his Grandma and cannot justify spending hours slaving away over the perfect marinara sauce. Yes, I admit it I cheat. I use jarred sauce but that doesn’t make me a criminal. I’m going to show you how I spice up this jarred sauce and make it taste as though it came right from Grandma’s kitchen.
Alrighty, here’s our line up:
- Crock pot
- 1 jar of Ragu Chunky (Tomato, Garlic, & Onion)
- ½ of a sweet yellow onion (Diced)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (Minced)
- Louisiana (or your favorite) hot sauce
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 1 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 heaping Tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- 1 ½ Teaspoons of Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon of Basil
- 2 Teaspoons of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
- 2 Teaspoons of Garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon of Thyme
- 1 Tablespoon of Rosemary (Crunch them up in your hand a bit before putting them in)
- 2 Teaspoons of sugar
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 Teaspoons of hot sauce (This is really a to taste thing)
So for starters go ahead and dump your good old jar of sauce into the crock pot. Measure out your spices and mix them in a bowl. Hold off on the hot sauce and the bay leaves, those come last. Now I want you to note here that I’m kin to Rachel Ray on a palm full of this, a dash of that, I NEVER actually measure spices unless I’m baking. I’m a firm believer of seasoning to taste. I took the time to measure all of this deliciousness just for you today but normally I just eyeball it.
Next, go ahead and get a sauté pan with a drizzle of oil going on the stove. Dice up your onion and mince your garlic. When your oil is warm go ahead and toss in the onions. Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt to help draw out the moisture. After about a minute add in your garlic and continue to stir to keep it from burning. Sauté until the onions start to caramelize.
Go ahead and add in the onion mixture and spices to the sauce. Stir it all up making sure to scrape the sides. Now, you can add in your hot sauce to taste and the bay leaves.
Pop the lid on and cook on low for as long as you’d like. It’s best to stir it occasionally. Here’s the deal about marinara sauce. The longer it cooks the better it tastes. There are a few different options here on cook time.
- I like to cook it on low all day long and let all those yummy flavors meld together.
- If you’re in a hurry you can cook it on high for about 2 hours.
- If you have a hungry household that needs sauce NOW! You can cook all of this in a sauce pan on the stove but I’ll tell you that if you don’t let it simmer for at least an hour you’re not going to reap the benefits of this deliciousness.
- I often make this in double batches and freeze it. Then I can pull out a bag, toss it in the crockpot, and have sauce ready when it’s time to make dinner.
- If it is too spicy add more sugar, if too sweet add more hot sauce