This is the basic tomato sauce that I use the most. It takes a bit of time to make, but it’s worthwhile because the sauce is so versatile — and during the hour of simmering I can be doing other things out of the kitchen. So I double this recipe, freeze it, and use it all week. Store extra sauce by allowing it to cool completely, then pour two-cup portions into freezer bags and freeze for up to three months. The classic marinara sauce is great with any pasta shape. But when you’re keeping it simple, why not keep it truly simple? Go with the classic spaghetti.
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame.
Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.
(The sauce can be made 1 day ahead.
Cool, then cover and refrigerate.
Rewarm over medium heat before using.)