Fresh, simple and delicious, this homemade Marinara Sauce, tastes so much better than a store bought sauce. It is the basis for so many meals, use it on pasta, in your lasagne, as a topping for pizza and so much more!
When I was younger, so much younger than today I never needed anybodies help in any waaaaaaay.
Sorry couldn’t resist!!! I can’t help it, just writing those first few words reminded me of the Red Nose day song that Bananarama sang with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke for Comic Relief. (I know the Beatles sang it first, but the comic relief version is the one I always think of 😉 )
Which now has me think of Johnny Deep in Vicar of Dibley and the Kylie Minogue in Men Behaving Badly, both of which were also Comic Relief spoofs.
None of which has anything to do with Marinara sauce!!!!!
Should I start again!!!
When I was younger, I worked in a hotel. It was a country hotel and really their big speciality was weddings. Some days we would have a wedding in the garden room, a wedding in the dining room and a wedding in the marquee. Those were the days when you knew you would be there until 3am!!!! But I am not complaining, I loved my time there and it paid for university!
One of the casual chefs was Lilianna, an Italian who made her own pasta and would come in for an evening if they needed pasta making. She was amazing!!! If you have never watched someone make orecchiette, it is amazing!! They cut off a small chunk of pasta dough, spread it with a knife and then turn it inside out to create the signature ‘ear’ shape. She did it so fast and so effortlessly! Amazing! I never mastered that skill. But I did get her fabulous marinara sauce recipe. Although actually she just called it her sauce recipe. No mention of marinara or even tomato, she said growing up they just called it sauce. ‘Spaghetti and sauce’, meant spaghetti and marinara sauce, but it was sauce. Everyone knew what ‘sauce’ meant.
So this is Lilianna’s marinara sauce but in my head I still think of it as Lilianna’s sauce. Actually this is Lilianna’s Nonna’s recipe! She passed it to her with strict instructions that she should share it with everyone as the world makes sauce wrong.
I think Liliana’s Nonna would still say I make it wrong as she originally used canned tomatoes that she had made herself from fresh tomatoes at the end of the summer months. I am afraid that I just use store bought ones 😳 Just make sure you don’t buy the bargain basement tomatoes. Your sauce will be thin and you will be missing the richness. The key is a good brand, I am sure you have them in the pantry , I mean when a good quality brand of tinned tomatoes is on special you buy 20 so the pantry is always fully stocked. No? that just me? 😉
Either way, buy a decent brand and you will be rewarded! This sauce is leap years away from the jars of sauce you buy in the pasta aisle. This sauce tastes of tomatoes! It tastes fresh, delicious and so yummy that you want to dip hunks of bread straight into it. Go ahead I won’t judge! Just don’t hog all the bread!
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Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 1 onion – see note 1
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 4 cans chopped tomatoes (400g/14oz cans) – see note 2
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
- Finely chop the onion and garlic, then place them in a large saucepan.
- Add the olive oil and cook over a medium/low heat until they are starting to soften and go translucent.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar and red wine, allow to bubble then add the remaining ingredients, except the fresh basil.
- Bring to a simmer and then cook on the lowest setting for 1 1/2 hours, staring occasionally.
- Once the sauce is cooked stir through the fresh basil and remove from the heat.
- Eat straight away or freeze in ziplock bags. You can also can this using steralized jars and the boiling method.
- I like to use a red onion but white or yellow are just as good.
- To make with Fresh Tomatoes:
- Wash your tomatoes and cut a small ‘x’ in the bottom of each one.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the skin is starting to peel.
- Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place in an ice bath to cool.
- Once the tomatoes are cool you can easily peel the skins off.
- Cut tomatoes into quarters and use in the recipe in place of canned tomatoes.
- You may need to add 1/4 cup of boiling water to your marinara sauce mixture.