In the meantime...my wonderful husband got me a Le Creuset Dutch Oven for Christmas this year.
After bugging me since Christmas Day to make him a marinara sauce in it I started to think the gift was really for him instead of myself. He got his wish yesterday when I put together a simple marinara and allowed it to simmer the day away on the stove top. You definitely do not have to cook the sauce as long as I did, I was just home all day so I had the pot on low for about 9 hours. I took pictures but can't find them on my camera or laptop for the life of me. Honestly...it looked like sauce...I think you'll be ok without the pics :)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine ( I used a homemade Diego Red but your favorite red cooking wine is fine)
1 32oz can crushed tomatoes
1 32oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I used with basil)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried bay leaves (mine are crushed, if you have whole, just put in one whole leaf and fish it out at the end)
Heat olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Add diced onions and saute until soft. Add garlic and allow to cook about 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add red pepper and red wine. Stir to get all of the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer about 5 minutes with the lid on.
Add crushed tomatoes. Add whole peeled tomatoes by crushing with your hand. If you like a completely smooth sauce, run the whole tomatoes through the blender before you add them. I like a little substance to mine so I crush them by hand.
Add sugar, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
Simmer on low with the lid on for as long as you want. I would recommend at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine. Like I said, I did about 9 hours. I also made meatballs and sausage in the oven and then placed them in the sauce during the last hour of cooking. Serve over your favorite pasta, or use this sauce in my Vegetable Parmesan recipe.