Homemade marinara sauce is quick and easy to make with only 7 base ingredients. Once you make up a batch of this super flavorful pasta sauce it will become a kitchen staple.
Homemade pasta sauce or marinara sauce as we call it, tastes so much better than store bought. Even though it may seem complicated to make, it’s super easy. The key to the most the most flavorful sauce is to use quality ingredients. When tomatoes are in season, you can be sure there will be fresh New Jersey tomatoes added to my homemade marinara sauce.
Here is what you will need to make homemade marinara sauce: strained tomatoes, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, wine, oregano, and a heavy sauce-pan.
This sauce can be made and on the table in about a half an hour, and most of the time involved is hands-off. That’s a little bit longer than it takes to open a jar of pre-made sauce, but it’s worth it.
Jarred marinara sauces contain refined sugar and more salt than necessary. When you make your own sauce, you can control the flavor and use fresh ingredients as well as the amount of salt and sugar. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my tomato sauce with the flavor tomatoes shining through.
If you have the time, I highly recommend that you let this pasta sauce simmer for a bit longer to allow all of the flavors to blend beautifully together. I make a double (or triple) batch and freeze it to use in recipes calling for tomato sauce. It tastes great served plain over pasta, in this eggplant casserole, or on top of these eggplant meatballs . You can even use it as a pizza sauce.
Whats the difference between tomato sauce and marinara sauce?
Even though most of us use the words pasta sauce, tomato sauce and marinara sauce interchangeably, there is a difference! Technically marinara sauce is a an easy red sauce that has a chunky texture. It’s made with onions, garlic and tomatoes. It’s a flavorful sauce that can be made quickly and tastes fresh. Tomato sauce, on the other hand is a smoother sauce and takes much longer to make with more ingredients.
Here’s how to make homemade marinara sauce
- cook the onions and garlic with the red wine
- add the tomatoes and spices
- simmer for at least 10 minutes
Tips to make the best homemade marinara sauce
- Use organic strained tomatoes called passata without any salt added. My preference is bionature brand, there is only one ingredient and that is tomatoes. If you can’t find passata or a pure tomato product, look for low sodium and a short ingredient list.
- Add diced fresh tomatoes to the marinara sauce even if you have to get them from the supermarket. Fresh tomatoes add a fresh flavor to the sauce.
- Add a small handful of chopped fresh basil the last few minutes of simmering for extra flavor.
- There is no added sweetener in this recipe, if you prefer your marinara sauce sweeter, add a small grated carrot to the onions and garlic.
- Use a good quality cabernet or pinot noir in this marinara sauce, or you can leave the wine out and thin the sauce with water or vegetable broth.
Variations and suggestions for homemade marinara sauce
- add one to two teaspoons of hot pepper flakes
- add sliced mushrooms just near the end of cooking
- add a tablespoon or two of pesto
- add fresh vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, bell peppers
- add browned ground beef for a meat sauce
- add meatballs
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