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Simple Marinara

The more time I spend in my kitchen, the more I appreciate the notion that some of the best recipes are the simplest. With only 5 ingredients and a short cooking time, this sauce has become my go-to on school nights or when I’m crunched for time. I’ve made this recipe so much over the past decade, I couldn’t possibly count! Plus, it is the one my children know and love — a comfort food they will forever remember.

Originally discovered in Heidi Swanson’s, Super Natural Cooking, I’ve only marginally adapted her version to suit our tastes; namely adding more garlic and cooking it slightly longer (I think it develops a better flavor that way.) But by all means, it can be ready in 20 minutes! The recipe can also easily be doubled and frozen. I usually serve ours over penne or rigatoni, but it could also become the base of a pizza, layered into a lasagne, or used as a dipping sauce.

Simple Marinara

A quick, 5 ingredient tomato sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Sauces
Servings: 3 cups
Author: 180360 (adapted from Super Natural Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (or more for spicier sauce)
  • 1/2 head garlic, finely minced (or less if sensitive to garlic)
  • 28oz can organic, crushed tomatoes (do not use diced, pureed or whole)

Instructions

  • Prep all ingredients, including finely mincing the garlic cloves. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, add olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 minutes or until garlic has softened. Do not allow garlic or pepper to burn! Add the can of tomatoes and stir well. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. (If I have time, I cook mine for at least 30 minutes or more to develop the flavor.) Serve with pasta, use as a pizza or dipping sauce, or freeze for later use.

Repertoire: Classic Marinara

180360_MarinaraWhen I first started cooking, nearly everything I made was Italian. I had worked in a family-run Italian restaurant for many years and had tried (unsuccessfully) to replicate their marinara at home. To me, it was the quintessential red sauce, but like everything else food-related, that’s all a matter of personal taste.

There are many disagreements on which ingredients should or should not be included in a true marinara sauce. I’ve tried several over the years but keep coming back to two particular sauces; one slow and one fast (I’ll share this recipe soon). They are both staples in our house and I couldn’t pick a favorite between them if I had to. 

I’ve been making this slow-cooked marinara almost every month for well over 10 years. It’s not the same as the one at my old restaurant but it certainly evokes a classic Italian Nonna’s recipe. This one is a chunkier version, with a proper soffritto, and a depth that can only be achieved by simmering on the stove for at least 5 hours. 

I prefer to make a huge pot so that any extra can be frozen or jarred. It’s such a great time saver on busy nights!

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Marinara
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Ingredients
  1. 3 large onions or 6 small onions
  2. 1 whole garlic bulb
  3. 6 carrots (peeled)
  4. 6 stalks of celery
  5. 1 1/2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 6 - 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  7. 6 bay leaves
  8. Salt and Pepper
  9. Butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Chop onion to a small dice and mince garlic finely. Heat oil briefly in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and sautΓ© until nearly translucent. In the meantime, chop carrots and celery (small dice) and add to pot. Season with salt and pepper again then sautΓ© until the carrots and celery have softened (knife easily slides through). Add canned tomatoes and bay leaves. Stir sauce really well. Bring to a soft boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5 hours or more. Stir regularly. Sauce should thicken and reduce a bit. Cool, then remove bay leaves before using or storing.
Notes
  1. Optional: Once the sauce is finished, you can add up to 6 TBL of butter to round out the flavors.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
180360 https://www.180360.com/

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