Marinara sauce is a classic Italian dish that pairs meat or vegetables with garlic and herbs. The name itself is thought to come from the coastal city of Marinara, which gives us our word “mariner” for sailors. How many times has this sauce been called your favorite because it’s so quick and easy to make? Too many, if you ask me! This post shares some of my favorite tips for making a great marinara sauce in 10 minutes or less without compromising on taste — plus it includes some fun tricks along the way! Give it a try next time you’re planning on a hearty meal.
Step-by-step Guide on making a marinara sauce
- -Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and herbs in a large pot.
- -Bring ingredients to a boil over high heat.
- -Reduce heat to a simmer and add basil leaves for the last 30 seconds. Turn off cooking element and let sauce cool for 5–10 minutes before serving.
(This is a simple tomato marinara sauce recipe I use all the time).
Step 1: Crush your tomatoes . . . but not completely! The best thing about making your own marinara sauce is that you know exactly what you’re eating. If you use store-bought tomatoes, you will have to taste them to make sure they’re edible. If there’s any hint of bitterness, toss them out. Don’t worry, your sauce will be delicious without them!
Step 2: Wash and dry the tomatoes . . . in batches! This step is just in case some traces of dirt or other unwanted flavors are present in the tomatoes. It’s best to wash and dry your tomatoes by hand because it allows you to extract more juices from the tomato pulp.
Step 3: Crush crushed, dried tomatoes with a wooden spoon or fork (or food processor). Your goal is to grind the whole tomatoes so that their juices can combine into a sauce base.
(You can use a food processor for this step if you have one. Otherwise, do this step by hand).
Step 4: Add liquid and spices . . . but don’t stir the tomatoes! You will now add the vegetable stock, tomato paste and pasta water to your crushed tomatoes. I always use my trusty 6-cup Food Processor because it has made life easier for me in the past! It’s fast and efficient! Open-ended jars are perfect for this task too.
(Open-ended jars allow you to add all ingredients without fear of spillage or mess).
To prevent clumping of spices, I recommend using a small wooden spoon to combine all ingredients together. This is one of my favorite cooking tricks because it allows you to get your hands dirty without the risk of cross-contamination.
Step 5: Bring the marinara sauce to a boil . . . then adjust by taste. Depending on how thick your marinara sauce is, you may need to adjust the heat settings to bring it to a boil point. If you see bubbles forming around the edges and in the middle of your pot, then you know that your sauce is at boiling point.
(This step should only take 5–10 minutes).
Step 6: Add your basil leaves . . . and turn off heat. Basil leaves are a great way to make your marinara sauce taste even more flavorful. Since basil has a strong flavor, we recommend using only about 5 leaves for every 4 quarts of sauce.
(You can add fresh herbs during the last 30 seconds of cooking to preserve their freshness).
Step 7: Let your sauce cool down before serving! There is nothing worse than biting into a hot pepper and realizing that it’s too spicy! Why take the risk when you can let your marinara sauce cool down to a safe temperature before serving? This step also allows you to taste your creation at its best, without burning your tongue.
(You can use a whisk or spoon to mix your sauce while it cools down).
Step 8: Serve it! Marinara sauce goes great on pasta, pizza and even meat dishes. Since the possibilities are endless, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stock up on marinara sauce at home. It’s a staple in many households because it’s quick and easy to make — with just a few basic ingredients!
(Marinara sauce is great with lots of dishes — including fish!).
Recommended: How to make a sweet and sour sauce
FAQs about mariana sauce
1) Is it healthy?
It depends on the type of ingredients you use. I personally prefer to buy tomato products that are free of preservatives and additives. That way, I know exactly what’s going into my recipes!
It’s not healthy if you use preservatives or unnecessary additives. This recipe contains no preservatives and canned tomatoes are full of preservatives. You could always add some fresh herbs to make your marinara recipe extra flavorful!
2) Is it expensive?
Making your own marinara sauce is always better than buying it at the store. You can say a lot about a person by their cooking skills — and you can say even more by their marinara sauce!
3) Is this dish quick and easy to make?
What could be easier than combining tomatoes, herbs and garlic in one pot? (My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can add as many herbs as you want without worrying about spoilage).