Basic Marinara Sauce

So I still have a lot of leftover pasta (in different flavors) from the Farmer’s Market.  I wanted to make a basic sauce that I could refrigerate for the week and serve with the different pastas, varying it up with different proteins and such.  So I went on a search for a basic marinara sauce.  I stumbled upon Ina Garten’s recipe, and she’s kind of my go-to chef for the basics, so I went with this one.  I varied it slightly with what I had in my pantry.  But, that’s the greatest thing about this recipe.  Use it as a base, and add what you have on hand – any type of wine (red or white), add basil or oregano or red pepper flakes, use various types of canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, etc…  I do recommend doubling or even tripling this recipe and freezing leftover sauce – I wish I had done that.

Basic Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)
  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes (use San Marzano if available, low sodium so you can control salt) – if you don’t have an immersion hand blender, chop up tomatoes coarsely.
  • 1 or 1.5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a medium sized pot.  Add the onion and heat until onions are translucent, around 5 mins.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute – don’t burn.  Add the wine and cook on high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, around 3 minutes, while scraping all brown pits in the pot.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Use an immersion blender sparingly to chop up the tomatoes – you don’t want to turn your marinara into soup, so keep it a litttttle bit chunky, like so – before and after:


Next, stir in parsley, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.   Season more to taste.  At this point, it can be eaten.  But, the longer the sauce sits on low, the better it’ll taste.  If you have the time, let your sauce simmer on low for an hour or two or three…

Serve it as you like!  I put my sauce over squid ink pasta and added grilled shrimp and red pepper flakes.  I served it with my homemade bread to catch all the sauce!  It was seriously yummy.


For the next pasta meal, I think I’ll add a touch of cream to the marinara and serve it over the black pepper pasta.  Have fun and be creative!


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