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10 minutes prep, 7 pantry-staple ingredients for an easy Restaurant-style Marinara Sauce!

Marinara Sauce

Only 10 minutes prep, 7 pantry-staple ingredients. Really, this Marinara Sauce recipe is faster to prepare at home than to run to store and buy a jar. With bold Restaurant-style flavor, this will be the only Tomato Sauce you will ever use. You will love the flavors.

Does it ever happen to you; you planned Italian Pasta Dinner and don't have Marinara? Honestly, it happens with me all the time. Specially, when I'm working on a recipe, reach for a jar of Marinara from pantry and find none. This is when this Marinara Sauce recipe comes to my rescue. In-fact sometimes, I just not buy Marinara and make sauce from scratch using this recipe.

I only make sure to stock my pantry with few cans of good quality Whole Organic San Marzano Tomatoes. That's it! If you have tomatoes, homemade Marinara Sauce is only 25 minutes away with just 10 minutes prep. All ingredients are pantry staples - onion, garlic, olive oil, butter, and herbs.

Note: If recipe (I'm working on) needs flavor of alcohol then I add wine/vodka to marinara sauce. It is not a required ingredient in basic marinara tomato sauce. I have to admit, it does give depth of flavor to simple marinara sauce.. making sauce perfect base for recipes such as Pasta in Vodka Cream Sauce. If you have Vodka Marinara, Vodka Cream Sauce is only one step away. 

Easy Marinara Sauce made from scratch

To make marinara, I start with pureeing tomatoes. I buy whole, peeled canned tomatoes and puree'em with immersion blender when needed. This saves me from buying multiple varieties. Crush'em, puree'em or use whole as recipe suggests. 

To get extra depth of flavor, next I saute fresh diced onions and garlic in mixture of oil and butter. I have learned this from experience, and from many fabulous chefs of Food Network, that don't skimp on olive oil if you want Marinara as good as your favorite store-bought brand of marinara sauce. Olive Oil and butter bring out the sweetness of tomatoes, and make velvety smooth tomato sauce.

The velvety texture makes it perfect for family-favorite dinner such as Spaghetti Marinara.

Once onions are soft (must be no color on onion or garlic), I add herbs and pinch of chili flakes for that aromatic Italian pasta sauce experience. (herbs make everything taste better)

Next, I add pureed tomatoes. San Marzano Tomatoes are the only tomatoes that make sweet, delicious marinara sauce. I highly recommend only buying these for good flavor sauce. Over pasta years, I have tried so many other brands but nothing matches the sweetness and flavor San Marzano.

When tomatoes cook with aromatics.. these pick up flavor of herbs, butter, and olive oil. As soon oil start to show on top, sauce is ready to meet your favorite pasta dinner. 

Keeping today's post as simple as this marinara recipe. I hope this sauce will make your next pasta dinner extra special.

Have a wonderful day. -Savita x

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Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce
Total Time Prep Time Cook Time Difficulty Easy Yields 4 Cups Sauce Serves 8 Notes No. of servings depends on serving size/recipe used.

Ingredients

  • 28 Tomatoes  (2 of 14.5 ounce can or pureed or crushed plum tomatoes, no salt added)
  • 1 tsp Salt  (*adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter  
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine  (or Red Wine, or Vodka [all optional, read directions])
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil  
  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Onion  (small diced)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic  (small diced, about 3-4 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes  
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning  (or mix of equal part oregano, basil, and thyme)

Directions

Hide Step Photos
  • Step for Recipe - Marinara Sauce
    1. In a heavy bottom, deep sauce pan, heat oil and butter until butter melts. Add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute until onions are soft. *2-3 minutes) Stir continuously so that garlic does not burn.
    Step for Recipe - Marinara Sauce
    2. Add dried herbs with chili flakes, and continue cook for 1 more minute.
    Additional Notes
    You can also use fresh herbs. When using fresh herbs, wait to add until last 3 minutes of cooking remains.
  • Step for Recipe - Marinara Sauce
    3. Now add wine/vodka and cook for 3 minutes so that alcohol evaporates leaving behind the flavor only. (This is an optional step - follow only when using alcohol - wine or vodka)
    Step for Recipe - Marinara Sauce
    4. Now add tomatoes with juice (pureed if using crushed or whole plum tomatoes). Add *salt. Bring to boil and then simmer covered for 8 minutes or until tomatoes give up oil. It will raise to the top. Add fresh basil (if using) half way through cooking. Take sauce off heat. Taste and adjust *salt.
  • Step for Recipe - Marinara Sauce
    5. This marinara sauce keeps good in refrigerator for a 1 week. Freezes well for 6 months. Pour sauce over your favorite pasta, serve and enjoy! This sauce is perfect base sauce to use with any recipe calling for Tomato-Basil or Garlic-Basil Marinara Sauce.
Savita's Notes:

*Taste and adjust salt. If tomatoes are not sweet, or if you prefer sweeter sauce, add a tsp sugar along with salt. Taste and adjust.

Acidic Sauce Fix: If tomatoes used are too acidic. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda in finished marinara sauce, stir well. Soda neutralizes the acidity and brings out the sweetness of tomatoes.

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