Marinara Sauce

In my family, tomato sauce is the stuff of legends. I’m not exaggerating. It’s not even called tomato sauce. Or gravy (remember, we’re in Western, NY not Jersey).  It’s simply called Sauce. You know someone grew up in an Italian family because they can eat pasta and sauce every day of the week. Once again, I’m not exaggerating. J will eat it for a meal and *maybe* another and that’s enough for him. But not me. I’ll eat it every day of the week. Now the real legendary recipe is our family’s Meat Sauce recipe. But that’s a post of another day. Today, I want to talk to you about Marinara Sauce.
This authentic, homemade Marinara Sauce is the best recipe. It's really easy to make and you can use fresh tomatoes or canned (to keep things simple!).

This is also a family recipe. It’s like the slightly simpler, meatless little sister of the Meat Sauce. All the ladies in our family have their own version of these sauce recipes. They’re all quite similar and yet all different but they generally all turn out pretty delicious (What can I say? These ladies are exemplary cooks. This will not be helpful to my post-baby waistline!).

It really is a simple sauce to make, and while it can be done in under an hour, I think it’s better if you give it enough time to simmer and really develop those flavors. Like most of the other things I make, it’s all about taking a few simple ingredients and making them sing. And when they do, it’s pure magic. I’m not one to muddle up a perfectly good sauce with too much stuff. It’s blasphemy as far as I’m concerned. You don’t need a million ingredients to make a delicious sauce. You need to combine the few that you have well and give them some time to make their magic.

This authentic, homemade Marinara Sauce is the best recipe. It's really easy to make and you can use fresh tomatoes or canned (to keep things simple!).

In our family we do not put sugar in our sauce because A) Gross! and B) It’s simply not necessary. The methods listed in this recipe, are a few very simple tricks to remover the tart and acidic flavors from the sauce without ruining it with sugar (and a top secret ingredient that works wonders!). As far as I’m concerned, sugar has a place, but it’s just not in sauce. Period.

You can make this with fresh tomatoes or canned. Obviously, canned is easier. But one cannot beat the flavor of fresh tomatoes. For this most recent batch, I thawed the gorgeous tomatoes that some friends and I picked at a Mennonite farm over labor day weekend. A couple minutes under some warm water and the skin peeled right off. I didn’t bother removing the seeds, since the Vitamix does a pretty fantastic job of destroying them. If  you don’t have a machine with the same strength, you might consider removing the seeds.

This authentic, homemade Marinara Sauce is the best recipe. It's really easy to make and you can use fresh tomatoes or canned (to keep things simple!).

This recipe makes a big old batch of sauce! It freezes beautifully and once you have the sauce ready there are so many different things you can make with it- please don’t limit yourself to pasta (though, let me honest; nothing beats a nice, big bowl of pasta!). Either way, get thee to the kitchen and make this glorious Marinara Sauce. I’m confident you’ll be a believer once you’ve tried it.

Marinara Sauce

Source: Rose Scuteri

Ingredients:

  • A couple Tbsp. of olive oil (I usually don’t measure this but I’d say it ends up being around 3 or 4 Tbsp.)
  • Around 6 pieces of garlic, peeled and poked all over with the tip of your knife (to help release the juices)
  • 3 28 oz. cans of tomato puree or 10.5 cups of pureed fresh tomatoes, seeds and skin removed- this is a topic of some debate- some people make one or two of those cans “sauce” instead of “puree.” I prefer all puree but my mom tells me grandma would sub out a can of “sauce” so do what you like
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Onion, peeled and poked all over with the tip of your knife.
  • Dried basil (optional- if I’m using the marinara for something other than eating over pasta, I leave this out)
  • Romano cheese (optional- if I’m using the marinara for something other than eating over pasta, I leave this out)

Heat your oil over medium heat and saute half of your garlic until its a nice golden brown on all sides (make sure it doesn’t burn- if it burns, you’ll need to wash the pan and start over again because burnt garlic destroys the flavor of anything it’s in).

Once browned, remove the garlic and add your tomato puree. If you’re using cans, Mix a little water between the cans to get excess puree out and to thin the sauce a bit (use whatever amount brings it to the texture of your liking- maybe start with half and go from there).

Bring your sauce to a boil and once it’s boiling, add some baking soda- start with a 1/4 of a tsp. and add more if needed. The baking soda is going to make the acid bubble up to the top. You’ll want to skim off the acid and dispose of it (you’ll notice it’s a slightly different shade of red than your sauce).  If you need more baking soda you can always add it and repeat the process, but use it sparingly because too much will add an oddly bitter flavor.

Once all the acid bubbles are removed, add your onions and your remaining garlic (if you want a really strong garlic flavor, you can always used a garlic press). Reduce your heat to low and simmer for at least an hour but preferably longer (I like to go 3 hours- if you’re worried about splatter you can always partially cover it).

Once it;s done simmering, remove the onion and garlic and and add the basil (I rub this between my hands to break it up even more and release more flavor) and Romano cheese to taste. Serve immediately or later- or freeze it!

Enjoy!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Nina McClain
    February 8, 2016 at 9:24 am I LOVE homemade sauces. I make spaghetti sauce like crazy in the fall. I never seem to make enough though!
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 8, 2016 at 10:32 am Me and you both! I cannot get enough :)
  • Reply
    Leslie
    February 8, 2016 at 9:28 am This looks yummy! I am always looking for a easy marinara sauce for busy nights where I want pasta. This looks like a winner!
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 8, 2016 at 10:31 am Thank you- I'm all about making a huge batch and then freezing it in smaller portions for those busy nights :)
  • Reply
    Katie
    February 8, 2016 at 9:48 am Yum! Thank you SOOO much for sharing this recipe. I have been scouring the Internet for a good marinara sauce recipe. This looks absolutely delicious. Following you:-) Katie
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 8, 2016 at 10:30 am Thank you- I hope you enjoy it. I think you'll find it gets better each time you make it!
  • Reply
    OneDizzyBee
    February 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm Oh, it's been ages since I've heard it referred to as simply "sauce". Brings me back a few years to my Sicilian aunt's kitchen. Also love the style of your recipe; it too brings back memories... "about this much of this" .... "some of that"... I used to ask my mom and aunts to get more specific with their measurements, and I'd get frowns and wooden spoons shaken at me with the admonishment of, "Just TASTE it, for god's sake! Taste it!" Thanks for a great recipe and a little reminiscing. OneDizzyBee recently posted...8 Ways to Failproof A MarriageMy Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm I'm glad to bring back so many memories! That's how it's always been in our family and I love it :)
  • Reply
    Chellie
    February 9, 2016 at 8:18 pm Love this! Healthy and more yummy alternative to getting store bought. Thanks so much for sharing :)
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 10, 2016 at 10:59 am Thank you! Yes, I love not having to do store bought!
  • Reply
    CJ Huang | Morsels of Life
    February 11, 2016 at 2:33 pm We're def fans of homemade sauce around here, and yours sounds wonderful! I haven't seen the baking soda hack before, but it makes perfect sense that it would neutralize some of the acidity. No sugar in sauce! :) CJ Huang | Morsels of Life recently posted...Mango CupcakesMy Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm There really is nothing like homemade sauce!
  • Reply
    Jennifer
    February 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm This is such a great idea. I always add sugar. Now I know how not to! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Your post has been pinned! Cheers, Jennifer http://awellstyledlife.com Jennifer recently posted...What a Woman Over 50 Wears to a Baby ShowerMy Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm Thank you- some people love sugar, but having grown up without it, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Just make sure you use a light hand with the baking soda at first :)
  • Reply
    Carla
    February 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm Love everything about this post! I agree so much that adding too much messes up a sauce...ahhh such a simple easy amazing recipe that so many people just mess up by adding and adding. I haven't added cheese to mine, but may need to try that.
    • Reply
      Jessy
      February 16, 2016 at 9:41 pm Yes! I think I just really love Romano cheese. It just makes everything better (and yes, I'm the girl that keeps a baggie of cheese in my work refrigerator and I am not sorry!).

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