A simple Marinara sauce or red sauce is a staple in Italian cooking. It’s easy to make, freezes well, and can be used in so many recipes. It’s perfect over pasta or to make pizza, Parmesan dishes and most tomato based Italian recipes.
There is no reason to buy store bought when you can make a big pot of sauce and use some and freeze the rest. I like to freeze small and large containers so I have different sizes to use no matter what I’m making.
I made a video to show you how I make it and to include some additional tips on the tomatoes to use and more. You can find the recipe just below my video.
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 -28 oz cans crushed tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes in sauce
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 of a medium size onion, chopped or 1 whole small onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, torn or cut into long strips
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can of water
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onions and garlic and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until onions are transparent but making sure the onions and garlic don’t burn.
Add the crushed tomatoes along with a can of water and the fresh basil. If you are using the whole tomatoes, blend them in the bender or use an immersion blender to chop them right in the pot. You can also do what I do and give them a good squeeze with your hands.
Allow sauce to simmer uncovered over medium high heat for about 30 -45 minutes until thickened. Be sure the sauce is simmering but not boiling and give it a good stir now and then so it doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom.
Once sauce is done remove it from the heat, taste to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.
If using the whole tomatoes the best ones to buy are the San Marzano plum tomatoes. They come whole so you will need to crush them before using. You can put them in the blender or just give them a good squeeze with your hands and crush them.
A pinch of red pepper flakes adds a nice spice to the sauce.