Marinara Sauce

January 6th, 2008


I practically lived on marinara sauce in college.   Besides eating it on pasta, I dunked bread into it, dunked vegetables into it, dunked my pizza crusts in it… pretty much, if there was a food I was planning to eat, I wanted it with a side of marinara sauce.   And really, for a college diet, I certainly could have done a lot worse.

Not surprisingly, this was one of the first things I learned to make when I finally started cooking for myself.   I made mushroom marinara sauce, eggplant marinara sauce, shrimp marinara sauce, and I’m sure plenty of others that I’ve forgotten by now.   I fell in love with San Marzano tomatoes after learning on the food network that they are the gold standard of canned tomatoes.  Now, every time they’re on sale, I fill a whole grocery basket and get a major arm workout lugging them home.

Any time I’m making a tomato sauce/soup recipe, I always buy whole peeled tomatoes and just roughly chop them myself.   I love getting big hunks of tomato in my sauces, but if you want smaller pieces, you can use a food processor to cut them smaller.  I like getting them whole because I can make sure no skins get into the sauce — maybe this is a weird picky thing on my part, but to me there’s nothing grosser than tomato skins in marinara sauce.  I used this as one component in a (forthcoming) dish for a dinner party, but I couldn’t resist setting a cup aside for me to dunk chunks of bread in.  Delicious.

Marinara Sauce

2 (28 ounce) cans of san marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 medium size white onion, diced
4 medium or large cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried basil, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano (or fresh, probably around 2 tbsp chopped)
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine

1. In a large stock pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add salt, pepper, paprika, basil and oregano when onion are translucent.
2. Add sauce from tomato cans.  Roughly chop each tomato and add to pot.  Simmer 10 minutes.
3. Add tomato paste and red wine.  Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat, and serve or refrigerate for later use.

Makes about 8 cups of sauce.

Tags: food · main dishes

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Diet » Marinara Sauce // Jan 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm

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  • 2 Sophie // Jan 6, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I agree with you there, it’s nearly all in the quality of the tinned tomatoes.  Tomato skins are yucky but I think you are being very dedicated fishing them out by hand!

  • 3 Christina // Jan 7, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I love marinara sauce! So quick but full of flavor. I’m intrigued by your addition of smoked paprika, I’ll have to try it.

  • 4 katy // Jan 7, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Sophie — Yes, for sure!  Usually I only find one per can, if that.

    Christina — definitely do!  I actually added smoked paprika because I found a delicious pizza sauce recipe a while back that called for paprika.  I figured it would be great in marinara sauce as well, and it definitely was!

  • 5 Zenchef // Jan 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    San Marzano tomatoes are the way to go! I’m glad you’ve got your priorities right 🙂
    I never tried marinara with smoked paprika but I will next time! Sounds delicious.

  • 6 Susan from Food Blogga // Jan 7, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Is there anything more wholeheartedly satisfying than dunking crusty Italian bread in marinara sauce? I think not.

  • 7 FZQ // Jan 7, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I pretty much lived on marinara sauce also in college.  It was easy and tasty.  Your recipe looks fabulous.  I can’t wait to try it out.

  • 8 Cakespy // Jan 7, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    A simple dish, but oh, such a good one. Lovely!

  • 9 Emiline // Jan 8, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Hey, I don’t need any convincing about marinara sauce; I love it.  I crave anything with tomatoes in it.
    I want to try the San Marzano tomatoes, but they’re not available to me in this area.  🙁

  • 10 núria // Jan 8, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Hi Katy! I never get tired of this sauce either, but I use natural tomatoes, not tinned (only because we’ve all year around good quality ripe tomatoes).

  • 11 núria // Jan 8, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Hi Katy! I never get tired of this sauce either, but I use natural tomatoes, not tinned (only because we’ve all year around good quality ripe tomatoes).

  • 12 emily // Jan 8, 2008 at 6:59 am

    as soon as i buy a can opener, and have the arm strength to carry home tins of tomatoes to my flat, i am going to make this sauce!!  Can I put it on whole wheat couscous??  or will that be gross??  Also I’m trying to watch what i eat, so i think this will add healthy flavor to all of the bland and annoyingly healthy mains i plan on eating…one question/favor…when you have a moment and feel like it, perhaps do a post on ways to dress up couscous that involve minimal calories and fat…or just tell me hahaha.  couscous is so easy to make (i literally eat up water in the tea-machine thing and pour it on top).  i know im pathetic…oh well here’s to being 23!!

  • 13 katy // Jan 8, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Susan, FZQ, Cakespy — Thanks!

    Emiline — oh no!  I actually like Miur Glen as well, they have great organic tomatoes, if you can find those!

    Nuria — I’m so jealous! I will have to use natural tomatoes when they’re back in season in the summer.  Do you still peel them?

    Emily — yes, I will absolutely do a post on couscous!  I think you could definitely add this sauce to couscous, since it’s technically a pasta.  Also, other easy sauce suggestions: 1/4 cup of boursin cheese thinned out with a tablespoon or so of milk makes a creamy, yummy sauce*; add veggies — chopped mushrooms and/or zucchini would be great, just saute them in cooking spray or steam them for a low-cal addition; add chopped up chicken breast and carmelized onions (if you add a little (1/4 cup) vegetable stock to the onions, they’ll still carmelize and you don’t have to use nearly as much oil).  What else, what else?  I will definitely brainstorm further and do a post on it!

    * You can also make your own boursin cheese — I plan to do a post on that too at some point!

  • 14 núria // Jan 9, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Yes, no peels are allowed!!! I should also take the seeds away… but that I don’t do! 😉

  • 15 núria // Jan 9, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Yes, no peels are allowed!!! I should also take the seeds away… but that I don’t do! 😉

  • 16 emily // Jan 10, 2008 at 7:37 am

    hey katy,

    thanks so much for all of the couscous tips.  I generally just caramalize onions and actually saute romaine (weird I know…but I’m usually pressed to use whatever I have on hand for dinner), and then add some soy sausage, chili flakes, salt and pepper. im pretty sick of this hodge podge…the other variation has a soft boiled egg atop it.  I like your idea about chicken broth.  I m sure I can find that here haha.  Also one more thing/request, I know you aren’t a fan of eating breakfast, but any tips on healthy breakfasts that require assembly rather than cooking?? I tend to have greek yogurt and honey, although today I had couscous, egg white omlet with honey in it…i need sweet in the morning!!

  • 17 katy // Jan 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Nuria — I bet that tastes just amazing!

    Emily — What about a homemade smoothie with yogurt, fruit and honey?  Or oatmeal with fresh fruit?  Or a pita with hummus?

  • 18 emily // Jan 11, 2008 at 5:26 am

    hmmm if I had a blender the smoothie sounds fantastic…i wonder if i could buy an inexpensive food emulsifier thingy…p.s. do you own a food mill??  you mentioned that you liked your marinara sauce chunky (it looks so wonderful in your photo)…anyhow Ina Garten on Food network always sings the praises of her food mill…makes for a very earthy organic texture in soups and other such foods…although it seems as though you need no help breaking down your sauce to perfect consistency!!

  • 19 Turkey Ragout with Rigatoni | sugarlaws // Jan 23, 2008 at 9:54 am

    […] finely 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 1 tsp dried rosemary 8 cups marinara sauce 1/2 cup red wine 2 boxes […]

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