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How To Make The Best Marinara Ever

Updated on September 8, 2012

Real Napolitan Tomato Sauce

One cannot help but love a good marinara sauce. The ingredients are simple, the recipe is easy, and the outcome is a healthy sauce that is the base of many Mediterranean dishes.

The Best Marinara Ever is the Basic Tomato Sauce of Naples, Italy. Here a few simple tips on how to blanch tomatoes, make tomato paste, and make the best Italian marinara ever.

Tomatoes Make The Sauce

Tomatoes Make The Sauce
Tomatoes Make The Sauce

My Napolitan Marinara Sauce Recipe

Marinara can be as simple or as complex as desired. Basic marinara is comprised of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt. Variations include adding oregano, rosemary, and thyme. I've learned that in some areas of Italy, roasted red pepper is pureed and added to marinara to sweeten the sauce.

Below is how I prepared over 200 farm fresh, vine ripened Roma tomatoes for sauce. To make the task easier, once the tomatoes were blanched I froze some of them whole, and made marinara sauce with the rest of them. Small batch quantities of 2-3 quarts at a time made the task less arduous for me.

  • TOMATO PREPARATION: Bring a stock pot half filled with water to a boil. Place about twenty-thirty tomatoes in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes or until skins split on the tomatoes.

    Remove tomatoes from water, place in a draining basket or colander to cool. Remove skins and set aside - do not throw them away yet. Repeat process until all your tomatoes are blanched and peeled and ready to store.

    At this point, you can make the sauce now or later. Once the tomatoes are blanched, you can freeze the whole tomatoes in freezer bags or one quart Ball Canning/Freezer Jars. If desired, make marinara sauce from some of the tomatoes and use, can, or freeze the sauce.

  • FRESH TOMATO PASTE: Remember the tomato skins? Get a teaspoon and scrape the skins' red pulp into a dish. My basket of tomatoes yielded about one small can of paste. Great for flavoring or thickening your favorite sauce.

  • FRESH MARINARA SAUCE: 1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Garlic (1-2 cloves chopped, sliced, shaved, however you like.), Sea Salt, Basil.

    Heat olive oil and garlic, salt, and basil on low in a medium saucepan to infuse the oil. Be careful not to brown garlic. The olive oil is infused when you can smell the herbs together. Remove pan from heat and fill pan with blanched Roma tomatoes. Hand squish whole cooked tomatoes into the infused oil until well mixed. Bring to heat. Cook as little or as long as desired. The basic marinara is now ready to eat, freeze, can, or use as a basic component of other recipes.

  • AFFORDABLE INGREDIENTS:One bushel of tomatoes cost $8.50 direct from the farmer. The two fresh clumps of garlic were $1.00. The olive oil was about $5.00. My yield was approximately 40+ cups of marinara and whole tomatoes.

  • MARINARA IS VERSATILE: Although Marinara is the base of many Mediterranean recipes is good just the way it is. One of my favorite ways is hot served with hot crusty ciabatta bread.

Fresh Tomato Paste

Fresh Tomato Paste
Fresh Tomato Paste

Marinara Makes A Good Meal

Marinara meals are affordable and good for you. When making sauce from scratch, it is always best if the ingredients are as fresh as possible.

Marinara sauce goes well with most vegetable based meals. For example, Marinara Sauce goes well with Baby Eggplant (baked or sauteed in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), rapini (broccoli rabe), and a side of hot crusty ciabatta bread.

Baby Eggplant Marinara - This is how I prepared my Baby Eggplant for Marinara.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with fresh baby eggplant.After washing and thoroughly cleaning the eggplant, I sliced it in half.All eggplant were given a light olive oil bath and placed skin side down on foil lined baking sheet (a.k.a. cookie pan).I made a foil tent top to allow the eggplant to steam bake without drying out.I checked the eggplant at random intervals by poking with a fork, making sure that nothing got overcooked.   NOTE:  If you are in a hurry, chop the eggplant and sauté it in extra virgin olive oil until preferred tendernessTop eggplant with some of The Best Marinara Ever, and add your favorite pecorino cheese.I topped half of mine with sauce, and the other half I left plain.  The next day, I used it to make a simple baked Eggplant Parmesan.
Start with fresh baby eggplant.
Start with fresh baby eggplant.
After washing and thoroughly cleaning the eggplant, I sliced it in half.
After washing and thoroughly cleaning the eggplant, I sliced it in half.
All eggplant were given a light olive oil bath and placed skin side down on foil lined baking sheet (a.k.a. cookie pan).
All eggplant were given a light olive oil bath and placed skin side down on foil lined baking sheet (a.k.a. cookie pan).
I made a foil tent top to allow the eggplant to steam bake without drying out.
I made a foil tent top to allow the eggplant to steam bake without drying out.
I checked the eggplant at random intervals by poking with a fork, making sure that nothing got overcooked.   NOTE:  If you are in a hurry, chop the eggplant and sauté it in extra virgin olive oil until preferred tenderness
I checked the eggplant at random intervals by poking with a fork, making sure that nothing got overcooked. NOTE: If you are in a hurry, chop the eggplant and sauté it in extra virgin olive oil until preferred tenderness
Top eggplant with some of The Best Marinara Ever, and add your favorite pecorino cheese.
Top eggplant with some of The Best Marinara Ever, and add your favorite pecorino cheese.
I topped half of mine with sauce, and the other half I left plain.  The next day, I used it to make a simple baked Eggplant Parmesan.
I topped half of mine with sauce, and the other half I left plain. The next day, I used it to make a simple baked Eggplant Parmesan.

How To Make Rapini - Rapini is a wonderful side dish.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rapini is a wonderful side dish.  Rapini  (broccoli rabe) is a staple of Naples, and a very simple dish to make.  It is also one that takes a little time to prepare, and in order to cook a lot, you need to be prepared.  This giant pot of greens actuaWash and slice a few cloves (2-3 depending on size)  to be added to the rappini.Start with placing extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot.  First, layer greens, then layer garlic slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle olive onto the layer of greens, and repeat process.  This pan has a total of three layers ofEvery few minutes, check the pan.  As soon as it appears the bottom greens are beginning to cook, use a pair of cooking tongs to turn the greens over from top to bottom.  Repeat process about every fifteen minutes.  It took about a half hour the greeI know the greens are done when almost all the juice evaporates from cooking and the greens are tender from top to bottom.   Rapini (broccoli rabe) is a member of the broccoli family.  When cooked with garlic and salt, the bitterness of the green is
Rapini is a wonderful side dish.  Rapini  (broccoli rabe) is a staple of Naples, and a very simple dish to make.  It is also one that takes a little time to prepare, and in order to cook a lot, you need to be prepared.  This giant pot of greens actua
Rapini is a wonderful side dish. Rapini (broccoli rabe) is a staple of Naples, and a very simple dish to make. It is also one that takes a little time to prepare, and in order to cook a lot, you need to be prepared. This giant pot of greens actua
Wash and slice a few cloves (2-3 depending on size)  to be added to the rappini.
Wash and slice a few cloves (2-3 depending on size) to be added to the rappini.
Start with placing extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot.  First, layer greens, then layer garlic slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle olive onto the layer of greens, and repeat process.  This pan has a total of three layers of
Start with placing extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot. First, layer greens, then layer garlic slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle olive onto the layer of greens, and repeat process. This pan has a total of three layers of
Every few minutes, check the pan.  As soon as it appears the bottom greens are beginning to cook, use a pair of cooking tongs to turn the greens over from top to bottom.  Repeat process about every fifteen minutes.  It took about a half hour the gree
Every few minutes, check the pan. As soon as it appears the bottom greens are beginning to cook, use a pair of cooking tongs to turn the greens over from top to bottom. Repeat process about every fifteen minutes. It took about a half hour the gree
I know the greens are done when almost all the juice evaporates from cooking and the greens are tender from top to bottom.   Rapini (broccoli rabe) is a member of the broccoli family.  When cooked with garlic and salt, the bitterness of the green is
I know the greens are done when almost all the juice evaporates from cooking and the greens are tender from top to bottom. Rapini (broccoli rabe) is a member of the broccoli family. When cooked with garlic and salt, the bitterness of the green is

A View From Napoli

A View From Napoli
A View From Napoli

Many good recipes begin with a basic marinara sauce. More will be added here, and you are welcome to add yours here, too. Thank you for stopping by.

What's For Dinner?

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    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Sounds delicious and not as complicated as I thought it would be.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      4 years ago

      Gotta make this sauce!

    • profile image

      othellos 

      5 years ago

      I just found out what I am missing from the Marinara sauce I have. Fresh tomatoes make the difference indeed! Thanks for the tips:=)

    • profile image

      AdriatiX 

      5 years ago

      Aaand I'm hungry again.

    • profile image

      dignit 

      5 years ago

      Oh no! I feel like such a cheater for using canned tomatoes instead of fresh!

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 

      5 years ago

      Mmm is for marinara. I just love this sauce! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • profile image

      barbiefashionistas 

      6 years ago

      Hmm, you made me craving for some Marinara now.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Hm! You convince me...

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 

      6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      A good marinara is a staple and I love to ttry new recipes!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      *Blessed for one of the yummiest recipes ever for Marinara that I have seen!

    • Zen Automat profile image

      Zen Automat 

      7 years ago

      anything with tomatoes is great... nice lens

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Wonderful marinara lens. Thanks for adding it to Recipes, Reviews and Food Collection.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      9 years ago from Minnesota

      This is a terrific lens...I love marinara sauce! I have made Giada De Laurentis' marinara and I'm going to try yours, for sure. Five *'s and faved.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 

      9 years ago from Western Mass

      sounds so yummy.

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