One of the fun things about my generation is that with Facebook and our good friend Google, it’s not hard to stay in touch with friends, family and even obscure high school classmates. With a few clicks, you can see who has gotten married, who has had children and who is engaged to another classmate that they weren’t even friends with during school. Before the days where we walk around with the internet attached to our palms, back when email was not the primary form of communication for many people, I did an exceptionally poor job at keeping in touch with far-flung friends.
To this day, I loathe voice mails and sometimes go days without checking it. What I like about Facebook is that it contains most of the people I’ve crossed paths with at one time or another in one convenient, easily accessible location. From friends who knew me before I was born to old bosses to relatives I never even knew I had, it’s finally easy for me to keep in touch and be that far-flung friend I was never able to be.
Even without the aid of technology I’ve kept in touch with a few friends over the years, the kind of friends that you know will always be a part of your life in one way or another. Maybe not every day, maybe not in the same way they always were, but they’re there.
A simple marinara sauce is kind of like that far-away friend. So accessible, so familiar and may have even once been a staple in your everyday routine. Now that you’ve graduated to brown butter sauces and sun-dried tomato pesto, you might have forgotten about a mainstay like marinara.
Reinvented with kalamata olives this sauce is every bit like the marinara you grew up with but a new touch of sophistication that you’ll welcome and maybe even grow to love. For pasta-eating guilt appeasement, I added two big handfuls of spinach into the sauce at the very end and cooked until it wilted.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- ½ cup red wine (optional)
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- ¼ kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
- ½ teaspoon Italian herb blend
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 handful basil (chopped)
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
- Add the tomatoes, kalamata olives, Italian herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.
- Using a hand mixer or blender, puree until the sauce reaches desired consistency and serve.