Marinara sauce is a classic Italian tomato sauce that is the key in many recipes like Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti & Meatballs. This Marinara sauce recipe is made with fresh tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs.
Homemade Marinara Sauce
I have another basic sauce for you. Marinara is a great sauce that everyone should have in their cooking repertoire. It’s an amazing sauce that has a tomato base and made with fresh vegetables and herbs. Just like with any other sauce, I’ve made and remade it for years until I found what works best.
I prefer to use all fresh ingredients for the sauce and just cook it a bit longer. I do like to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned but if you are in the time crunch, feel free to use canned tomatoes. Do remember that canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes will make your sauce taste different. They do have a completely different taste. But common, nothing beats fresh ingredients and just think about all the vitamins from the fresh vegetables that go into your sauce.
Like I said, this is a very basic sauce but it can be completely customizable. You can use it as is or you can make a bigger batch and just make changes to it every day. You can pour out a couple of cups at a time and bring it to simmer in a pot. You can then add you other ingredients for flavor change. Fresh marinara does not have the same shelf life the store-bought one. It will only last about a week as long as you keep it tightly closed and don’t dip spoons or anything in it (pour out instead). One way to make it last longer is portion it and freeze it.
What flavors of Marinara sauce can I make?
Add cheese: Mozzarella, Parmesan or Italian mix.
Add roasted garlic: roast the garlic first and then add it to the simmering pot.
Make it meaty: saute ground beef/ground pork first and then add marinara and cook together for a few minutes.
Make it with chunky vegetables: saute zucchini and summer squash and then add the marinara.
You can also add:
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2 carrots
- 8 large tomatoes no skin
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- First, we need to get rid of the tomato skins. You can use a potato peeler. If the tomatoes are too soft, make a criss-cross cut on top of tomatoes and drop them into boiling water for just a minute and the skin will be easy to peel off.
- Chop your vegetables (don't let any of the tomato juice escape, you will use it all). If you prefer a chunky sauce, dice the vegetables. If you prefer a smooth sauce then it doesn't matter because you will blend all of it in the end. I recommend a little bit of both. Dice your vegetables but use a hand-held blender in a couple of spots but not on all the sauce.
- In a large pot, preheat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots. Saute until a little bit caramelized. Lower the heat to medium and add tomatoes, some salt and a bay leaf. Mix well. Cover but leave a crack to let the steam escape and cook for about 15 minutes (don't forget to stir).
- Add garlic, sugar, pepper, oregano and thyme. Cover and cook over medium low heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mince the fresh basil and add it to the pot. Cover, leaving a crack for steam to escape, and cook for another hour. (Remember to stir once in a while.)
- Pulse the sauce with a hand-held blender a few times. Taste to make sure that you have enough salt.
- Take off heat and cool it to room temperature. Transfer it to a jar and close tightly. Refrigerate when not using. (You can also portion it into freezer bags and freeze.)
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Originally Posted on Will Cook For Smiles on February 4, 2014.