Once the diced onion, celery, green peppers and carrots are soft, in goes several cloves of minced garlic and--a few seconds later--a couple glugs of good red wine. As the wine simmers, scrape up any brown bits, which food snobs call the fond, with a wooden spoon. When the wine is reduced by about half, dump in a quart jar of tomatoes from last summer's garden if you have them, or a 28-ounce can of store bought tomatoes. (San Marzanos are good if you can find them, otherwise any old tomato will do.) Crush them a bit with the back of the wooden spoon. You can also stir in some tomato paste if you have it, along with several pinches of kosher salt, lots of black pepper, and about a tablespoon each of dried oregano and thyme.