You just can’t compare homemade Italian garlic marinara sauce with any store-bought sauce or tomato-based mixture that comes in a jar or a can. Expect the absolute best flavour when you make your spaghetti sauce using fresh simple ingredients. Anyone will find the following Italian marinara sauce recipe a breeze to make and, if you’re fond of authentic Italian cuisine, I just know you’ll love the following classic marinara recipe.
Blending the flavours of tomato, onion, garlic, herbs, and spices, this homemade Italian garlic marinara sauce is a real treat. Enjoy the simple San Marzano tomato sauce with your favorite pasta, as a pizza sauce or even to dip your breadsticks.
Ingredients for Delicious Marinara Sauce
You don’t need more than a few basic pantry ingredients for this classic marinara recipe. The sauce is based on San Marzano tomatoes. Either grab a can or use fresh, depending what you have on hand. In addition you will need tomato paste, extra-virgin olive oil and white onion as the main ingredients. Use quality ingredients for the best result.
Additional touches of flavour come from the addition of garlic, parsley, fennel, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. I usually have all or most of these ingredients to hand, so I can rustle up a homemade pasta sauce whenever the craving hits.
How to Make the Best Marinara Sauce
Sauté the onions and garlic in oil, making sure you stir the mixture every 30 seconds or so, so nothing sticks to the pan and burns. Next add the tomato paste and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, stirring periodically. Pick out and discard the bay leaves, and serve over pasta, seafood, chicken, cauliflower mash, or whatever you want.
Tweaks and Variations
Now there are literally hundreds of ways to make a marinara recipe, so you can tweak the ingredients however you wish. For example, adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to make it spicier, or throw in a pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder for a similar result.
If you are making it as a dipping sauce, you can use an immersion blender to get a smooth sauce which is easier to scoop up with chips. Having it with ground beef? Add half a cup of red wine for a hearty flavour which pairs nicely with red meat.
This classic Italian marinara sauce is great with chicken too, perhaps chicken mozzarella sticks, Italian Stromboli or chicken parmesan. Make sure you add lots of garlic and perhaps a splash of white or rose wine. This might sound strange but it does add a rich element to the Italian marinara sauce recipe.
If you want more of a puttanesca sauce, throw in some sliced black olives, capers and anchovies, and mix in parsley at the end.
A homemade marinara sauce recipe is nothing if not versatile! You can use the basic recipe as a starting point for any delicious tomato-based sauce you want.
Italian Marinara Sauce Recipe FAQs
The answer is about the same time you can store leftover canned savory sauces, and that’s three or four days. Keep it refrigerated and in an airtight container. You can also freeze it for a couple of months.
Since classic marinara is a versatile sauce and goes well with all kinds of dishes, you might like to make extra, so you can have spaghetti Bolognese one night and dip breadsticks in it the next.
I’ve made classic marinara both ways and I actually prefer to use canned. Canned tomatoes are made with fresh tomatoes preserved at the peak of tomato season, and canning keeps the sauce very fresh and keeps all that flavour locked in. Also, they are canned with some salt and that always brings out their flavour. One thing I would say though is make sure you buy good quality San Marzano tomatoes. Your marinara sauce recipe from scratch is only going to be as good as the tomatoes you start it off with.
San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomato. They are thinner than Roma tomatoes and have fewer seeds and a thicker flesh. They are sweeter and stronger than Roma tomatoes with less acidity. Their rich, ripe flavour makes them the ideal candidate for making classic marinara and you won’t find a decent Italian restaurant where these aren’t always in stock!
Garlic Marinara Sauce Recipe
Homemade Italian Garlic Marinara Sauce
- 28 Ounces crushed tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ white onion diced
- 3 Cloves garlic minced
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ Teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ Teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 bay leaves
- Add olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat and swirl to coat.
- Next, add diced onions and minced garlic to the pan. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir until combined. Cook to lightly brown the tomato paste, about 2 minutes.
- Next, add crushed tomatoes, salt, parsley, fennel, black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the saucepan and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and place the bay leaves so they rest on top of the sauce.
- Let sauce simmer for 20 minutes. Be sure to lightly stir 2 to 3 times as it cooks.
- Discard bay leaves.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
The flavour and versatility of this homemade Italian garlic marinara sauce are sure to impress you. In fact, you might never use a jarred sauce again after you taste it! It’s a vegan marinara sauce recipe made with a handful of ingredients. One of the best pasta sauces of all time, this simple San Marzano tomato sauce is sure to be a real hit and will become your go-to recipe.
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.