How to Make Authentic Marinara Sauce

Easy Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe With Pictures

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Marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, red sauce, tomato sauce… so many different names. But no matter what it’s called, everyone loves it just the same. This staple sauce is a part of so many different authentic Italian dishes such as spaghetti, pizza, ziti, lasagna, etc. Thankfully, you don't have to come from Italy or have a little Italian nonna to make a great tomato sauce. This is a simple recipe that will have your friends and family thinking you have been taking secret cooking lessons from Mario Batali himself.

There are no “secret ingredients” to worry about with this easy Italian Tomato Sauce recipe. The real secret is to reserve enough time to let your sauce simmer on the stovetop long enough to develop a rich, savory flavor. This makes a huge difference.

Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients needed:

  • 2 Large Cans of Crushed Tomatoes. Can be found absolutely anywhere these days. Stick with those that are manufactured in Italy, and try to find a product with added basil or a blend of Italian herbs. This will yield the best taste results.
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning. I have found that dried seasoning works just fine and saves money, but still gets you that authentic Italian flavor.
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Minced Garlic or Jarred Minced Garlic. Jarred minced garlic is my choice as it keeps the garlic all the same size, and that helps in even cooking.
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste. If you have a problem judging, add slowly. Remember: you can always add more, but can't take it away.
  • 2 Tbsp. Canola or Olive Oil. Each imparts a great flavor, and they are both heart healthy. Canola is a bit easier on the purse strings.

You Will Also Need:

Optional Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Red Wine. Doesn't need to be expensive, but make sure it is at least something you could drink by the glass. The alcohol will render off during the cooking process.

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Depending on how spicy you like your sauces, you can add a lot or just a little. Or, if you’re not a fan of spicy, omit it entirely.

Serves: At least 8-10 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: This sauce can technically be consumed as soon as it is hot, but it is much better the longer it cooks. Optimum time is 8 hours at medium-to-high heat.

Step one:  Fry the minced garlic and oil

Add both the garlic and oil in pot and fry on low-to-medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Do not over-brown garlic, as it can become bitter. This entire process should take 2-3 minutes on average.

Step two: Pour both cans of crushed tomatoes into the same pot.

Step three: Add salt/pepper, Italian seasoning, and optional wine and crushed red pepper if desired.

Step four: Mix all ingredients into tomato sauce until thoroughly incorporated.

Step five: Cook on low heat for 8 hours, and serve when ready.

Optimum cooking time is 8 hours, but if needed, you can adjust the time to 3-4 hours over low-to-medium heat. The sauce can be used in a variety of different ways and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 days, or for up to three months stored in the freezer.

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