Skip the jarred tomato sauce and make your own easy Marinara Sauce in less than an hour!
Marinara Sauce is one of the simplest of Italian sauces. Processes and tastes can vary greatly, but it all comes down to tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs.
While my family recipe for spaghetti sauce takes all day long, this simple, 30-minute marinara sauce is what I make when I’m whipping up calzones, chicken cutlets or baked ziti pie. You can make it ahead and freeze or can it to make sure you always have marinara on hand.
As far as tomatoes go, you have two choices, one that will be a little more time than the other. You can use fresh plum tomatoes and quickly steam and skin them or use canned whole tomatoes.
In all honesty, while I love fresh tomatoes, it defeats the purpose of a quick marinara sauce. So I use canned tomatoes and I refuse to apologize for it. If you do choose to steam and peel your own tomatoes, here are the instructions on how to peel a tomato.
In fact, if you visit a grocery store while in Italy, you won’t find a long aisle of various sauces and flavors. They sell one canned base sauce. It is just tomato.
A blank slate to add your favorite herbs, vegetables and seasonings. The canned sauce is also more acidic than typical American versions who tend to lean towards a sweet sauce.
The choice is yours and I’m sure will reflect how much time you have. You can also choose the texture, using an immersion blender to make the sauce smoother, or leaving it nice and chunky. Your choice.
Use this quick and tasty version for anything that calls for tomato sauce or marinara sauce. Pizza, calzones, dipping for mozzarella sticks or calamari- the list is endless!
Here are a few recipes you can pair your quick homemade tomato sauce with:
- 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 28 ounces whole tomatoes*
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano packed and chopped
- 2 teaspoon fresh basil packed and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup red or white wine
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add onions, sautéing until starting to soften, approximately 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add tomatoes, cutting coarsely with a paring knife, add remaining juices from can. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If you enjoy a chunky sauce, leave as-is and serve it up! If you want a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion hand blender, taking care to blend larger pieces, but not totally juicing it.
If using whole tomatoes, choose about 8 large plum tomatoes. Dip whole tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, transferring to an ice bath immediately. Skins should peel easily.