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This zesty marinara sauce may be simple to make, but it is legendary in our family. With a secret ingredient the way from my Grandma, this sauce is perfect on pasta or anything else you have cookin’.

Marinara Sauce

This zesty marinara sauce may be simple to make, but it is legendary in our family. With a secret ingredient the way from my Grandma, this sauce is perfect on pasta or anything else you have cookin’.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword marinara sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Rose Scuteri

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (I usually don’t measure this but I’d say it ends up being around 3 or 4 Tablespoons)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and poked all over with the tip of your knife (to help release the juices)
  • 3 28 ounce cans tomato puree (or 10 1/2 cups 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)
  • 14 ounces water (fill half can)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (maybe more)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and poked all over with the tip of your knife.
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried basil optional- if I’m using the marinara for something other than eating over pasta, I leave this out
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese optional- if I’m using the marinara for something other than eating over pasta, I leave this out

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat and saute half of the garlic until it's 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).

  2. Once browned, remove the garlic and add tomato puree. If you’re using cans, Mix a  1/2 can water between the cans to get excess puree out and to thin the sauce a bit (you can also add more or less brings it to the texture of your liking- maybe start with half and go from there).

  3. Bring sauce to a boil and once boiling, stir in some baking soda- start with a 1/4 teaspoon and add more if needed. The baking soda is going to make the acid bubble up to the top. 

  4. Skim off the foam from 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.

  5. Once all the acid bubbles are removed, add onion and remaining garlic (if you want a really strong garlic flavor, you can always use a garlic press). 

  6. Reduce 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 the pan).

  7. Once the time is up, 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!