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How to Make Marinara Like a Professional

Updated on December 20, 2011

5 Easy Steps

Ingedients: 1 Can Peeled Plum Tomatoes (102 oz)

12 Cloves Garlic

1 Large Yellow (or Spanish) Onion

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary

5 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

15 Large Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley

2 Dried Bay Leaves

2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

2 Cups Red Wine

Salt and Pepper


1. Finely chop the garlic and onion,then place them in the bottom of your saucepot with the olive oil. Simmer until the onions and garlic are translucent (almost see-through). If you prefer a roasted garlic marinara, brown the onions and garlic slightly.

2. Add the red wine. I prefer a cheap merlot for my marinara, but any red will do. Deglaze the mixture (simmer until the wine has mostly evaporated and become thicker and darker). Add the whole can of tomatoes and a cup of water. I use the water to rinse the last of the tomato goodness from the can before adding it to the sauce.

3. Take the sprigs of Rosemary and Thyme as well as the bay leaves and wrap them snugly in the cheesecloth. I also throw 2 teaspoons of whole black peppercorns into the sachet (cheesecloth bundle), but if you only have ground pepper it can easily be added later. Make sure the sachet won't fall apart in the sauce, and plunge it right down into the mix.

4. Bring the sauce to a slow boil (I suggest doing this on low heat, to prevent any burned sauce in the bottom of the pot). Let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat, pull and discard the sachet. Add the baking soda (to reduce acidity).

5. Chop the basil and parsley and add it to the cooling sauce, as well as salt and pepper (if you didn't put peppercorns in the sachet) to your preferred taste. I recommend 1-2 teaspoons of pepper and 1-2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt (some salts such as iodized will affect the overall flavor of the sauce, while kosher or sea salt blends more seamlessly). To smooth out the sauce, a food processor or hand mixer can be used, but I prefer to use a small potato masher to crush the tomatoes and keep the sauce chunky.

6. Enjoy your creation! Impress your friends! Tell them it's your grandmother's recipe! They will believe you :)


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    • profile image

      Melissa Kamins 3 years ago

      Do NOT add the baking soda or if you do add the smallest pinch it completely ruined the sauce so flavorless you can't even taste the garlic I spent so much time making this I was completely dissappointed

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Baking soda to reduce acidity... brilliant! I absolutely must try this. Thanks for the recipe, Eunoicgeniusloci! I hope this will be the first of many to come.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 6 years ago

      The recipe sounds interesting but why do you use the baking soda? It has a somewhat bitter taste. Are you trying to reduce the acidity?

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Wonderful hub! This was so helpful, thanks!