Homemade Simple Marinara Sauce

Rather than reaching for the jarred stuff, next time try making this simple 4-ingredient marinara sauce, instead. It's easy to prepare and is ready in less than 30 minutes! I use this sauce in just about everything except for lasagna. It's great in a parmesan dish, and over canneloni, gnocchi, or pasta. Sometimes I use any leftover sauce on pizza, as well.

My aunt in Italy showed me how to make this one hot summer evening, when we just had arrived at the cottage that we had rented on the beach for the summer. She pulled out a large skillet and simmered together pomodoro passata, garlic, basil and olive oil. She then tossed it with capellini (angel hair pasta) and it was the most divine pasta dish that I had ever tasted in my 14 years of life. She referred to it as sugo napoletano.

This recipe has evolved over the years, but the ingredients have always stayed the same - 1 large can of plum tomatoes or 3-5 cups of pomodoro passata (depending on the size of the packaging), 4 crushed garlic cloves, 4 large basil leaves, and 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. What varies is the texture of the tomato sauce. For a chunky sauce, I use plum tomatoes and break them into pieces with my hands, and for a smooth sauce, I use a plain tomato purée (pomodoro passata). Most of the time, I fish out the garlic cloves and other times I puree the sauce to mix everything together.

This recipe is very versatile and very forgiving. It also turns out well, if you happen to use a no-name brand of tomato sauce. It'll have a higher acidity level, but by adding a pinch of sugar or a shot of milk will help balance it out.

This is a family favourite and I love adding my mom's meatballs to this sauce! 

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 3 cups (700 ml) pomodoro passata, or 1 28-oz (800g) can plum tomatoes broken or mashed into pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 large basil leaves, left whole or torn into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. If you using pomodoro passata, then add 1 cup of water to the container to get the rest of the sauce, and simmer all ingredients for 20-30 minutes over medium heat, until it is slightly reduced and thickened. Do not cover the sauce pan and occasionally stir so it doesn't burn. If sauce tastes acidic, then add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. If you accidently sweetened the sauce too much, then balance it out with some salt.
  2. Remove garlic cloves, if you wish, or puree them into the sauce. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of olive oil and some fresh torn basil to the sauce, to 'liven it up' a bit.
  3. Use in place of the jarred sauce that is called for in your recipe (even lasagna). 

(Adapted from my aunt in Italy)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I love reading your comments. (Please note that all comments are published on approval and spam will be automatically deleted.)

Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).