Marinara sauce in America is a red tomato sauce. Something you would get from Olive Garden or Subway. In Italy, traditionally, marinara would be tomatoes, onion, spices and seafood. This acidic mixture the Italians were serving was a staple that would last for awhile without refrigeration.
My marinara was developed when I got tired of buying jars of spaghetti sauce. Ragu was my favorite at first, then Classico, Prego, Paul Newman. They all left we wanting something else. They usually had some sugar in them. Sometimes way too much sugar. They just didn’t do it for me. After experimenting for a while I finally hit on a recipe I could live with. And, nothing is set in stone, so i like to mix this up occasionally. You can too. First try this.
Basically the recipe is:
2 cans 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce
1 tbsp dry oregano
1 tbsp dry basil
1 tbsp dry thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp powdered fennel
1 tsp black pepper
That is my starting point for Marinara. From there, anything goes. You could add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Substitute one can of diced tomatoes for a can of spicy Rotel. If you use fresh herbs, you can alter and accentuate the taste to your likes. I just hope that you would make your own sauce and not get something in a jar.
Tonight’s marinara sauce was a can of tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes. I minced 2 large cloves of garlic, diced a medium onion and picked about 8 leaves of fresh basil from my plant and chopped them up.
I started the marinara in a sauce pan with 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. I placed the onion in first for about one minute then added 1 pound of Italian sausage. (You could substitute chopped peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or summer squash for a vegetarian sauce). Brown the meat and add the two cans of tomatoes. I added the garlic and basil and 1 tbsp oregano, 2 tsp thyme, 2 tsp ground fennel, 1 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper.
Simmer on low while you cook your pasta. Once the pasta was nearly done, I added a can of mushrooms and 20 chopped green olives to the marinara. Tasted the sauce and it still needed more basil, so I added a tsp or so of dry basil.
Finished. Check your sauce again by tasting it before you serve. Fine tune it if needed according to your taste. ( I must say that sometimes that means adding a teaspoon of sugar. It can smooth an over acid tasting sauce). Serve with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Once again, a nice meal. Life is good in Paradise!
- 2 14.5 oz . cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz , can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan, bring to boil over medium heat.
- Add ingredients if desired: browned Italian sausage, sauteed onion or sweet peppers, mushrooms, green or black olives.
- Serve hot over pasta with mozzarella and parmesan cheese