October 7, 2019

Recipe: Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

by
Homemade marinara sauce tossed in a bowl of spaghetti.

Homemade marinara sauce, some for tonight and some for later.

 

Homemade marinara sauce is easier than it might sound. You can enjoy it for an easy supper right away and freeze some for later, a fresh reminder of summer when winter doldrums set in. You probably already have most of the ingredients on hand.

I love this recipe because it provides such a quick and easy meal. It can be ready for your favorite pasta, pronto, after a busy day — when you need food fast but don’t want fast food. The entire recipe can be completed in less than 45 minutes and beats a jar of store-bought tomato sauce, hands down.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

6 medium-sized beefsteak or other large tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet and Chianti are my favorites)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Lightly roasted whole tomatoes on a baking sheet; tongs are peeling them

Once the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, remove the skins. I find that a pair of small tongs or a paring knife work well for this.

Bowl of hand-crushed cooked tomatoes and their juice

Crush the tomatoes into a bowl. I like to use my hands to break them up, but you can use a fork or potato masher, too. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven with the oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and wine, and cook for an additional minute. Scrape up any dry bits on the bottom of the pan.

Marinara sauce cooking in a large metal pot.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, covered. If the sauce cooks down too much, add another ¼ cup of wine, or some chicken stock or water.

Homemade marinara sauce tossed in a bowl of spaghetti.

Top your favorite pasta with the homemade marinara sauce, or cool and freeze for up to three months.

Cook’s notes for an even better sauce

In addition to topping pasta with the homemade marinara sauce, try it on zucchini noodles, polenta or steamed vegetables.

Freeze the sauce in large freezer bags or wide-mouth canning jars (leave a bit of room at the top of the jars for expansion). Be sure to label and date the jars so you know what you have later in the year when you pull them out.

Once you have the basic recipe down, you can make different versions by adding vegetables such as peppers, zucchini or mushrooms. Olives or capers are an option to try for a different flavor. If you have a bit more time, cook some sausage or ground beef for a Bolognese version of sauce. Get creative; it is hard to go wrong with good ingredients like these.

To make perfect pasta noodles every time, remember these tips:

  • Avoid crowding. There should be plenty of space for the noodles to cook, so be sure to choose a pot large enough for the amount you’re making.
  • Wait for the boil. Do not throw your pasta in the pot until the water comes to a rolling boil.
  • Cook the pasta al dente (so it’s still a bit firm). Most packaged pasta comes with cooking times to guide you. However, a minute or two before that time, fish out a noodle and bite into it. If it is still chalky white in the middle, it needs more time. When it is cooked properly, or al dente, there is a slight bite to it but nothing hard. If it gets overcooked it will be mushy. The trick is getting it just right.
  • Drain and toss. Use a strainer or remove the pasta using a slotted spoon. Heat the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two by tossing it gently with some tongs or two forks.

 

Recipe: Easy Farm Stand Tomato Marinara Sauce
Recipe type: Tomato sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6 (1/2-cup) servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6 medium-sized beefsteak or other large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup red wine (Cabernet and Chianti are my favorites)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.
  3. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, remove the skins. I find that a pair of small tongs or a paring knife work well for this.
  4. Crush the tomatoes into a bowl. I like to use my hands to break them up, but you can use a fork or potato masher, too.
  5. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven with the oil.
  6. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and wine, and cook for an additional minute. Scrape up any dry bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add the tomatoes, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper.
  8. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, covered. If the sauce cooks down too much, add another ¼ cup of wine, or some chicken stock or water.
  9. Top your favorite pasta with the tomato sauce, or cool and freeze for up to three months.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 113 Fat: 5.4 grams Saturated fat: .8 grams Carbohydrates: 13.1 grams Sugar: 1.7 grams Sodium: 112 milligrams Fiber: 2.9 grams

Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She is a mother to two adult daughters. In her free time, she teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.