How to Make Marinara Sauce
Do you love Italian food as much as I do? We usually have at least one meal every week that features marinara sauce in some form. Marinara sauce is a versatile dish that can be prepared a number of different ways. I never use an actual recipe for my sauce, and I rarely make it exactly the same way twice.
One of the reasons that I love marinara sauce is that I almost always have everything I need in my pantry to whip up a batch of delicious sauce.
- Tomato Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes (fresh or canned, use Rotel or add fresh peppers if you like spicy marinara)
- Garlic (fresh, minced, or powder)
- Basil (fresh or dried)
Marinara sauce can be prepared on the stove top or in a Crock Pot. Simply place the basic ingredients in a stock pot or in your slow cooker, add the optional ingredients (listed below) of your choice, and simmer.
The quantity of each ingredient you will need of course depends on how much sauce you want to make. I find that mixing three parts tomato sauce to one part of diced tomatoes results in a good consistency. I generally use three cans of tomato sauce (standard size) and one can of diced tomatoes, or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes to create the base for my sauce. For this quantity of sauce, I used approximately one tablespoon of dried basil and the equivalent of two cloves of garlic.
If cooking on the stovetop, simmer over a medium low heat for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to blend properly. If using your Crock Pot, it will be ready after about 4 hours on low, but you can leave it on low all day while you are at work. Keep in mind that the sauce will be thinner if you use a slow cooker, so you may want to add tomato sauce.
- Tomato paste (if you like thicker sauce)
- Cayenne Pepper (my Louisiana husband insists on this)
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Sautéed diced bell peppers
- Sautéed diced onions (or onion powder or minced onions)
- Sautéed fresh mushrooms or canned mushrooms
- Sautéed zucchini
This sauce is great by itself over pasta or as a pizza sauce. It is also delicious served over spaghetti squash. Feel free to add browned ground beef to create meat sauce. Mix in meatballs if you enjoy meatball sandwiches or spaghetti with meatballs. It is also delicious over cooked chicken, especially when topped with melted mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
Fun Fact About Marinara Sauce:
When my husband and I first got married, I made a very spicy marinara sauce that contained a lot of cayenne pepper. I refrigerated the leftover sauce in a bowl covered with aluminum foil. The next evening, I opened the refrigerator and noticed that there was a huge hole in the foil. At the time, I thought that the sauce was so spicy that it caused the hold in the foil. I later learned that the acid in the tomatoes caused the hole. Moral of the story: Use a plastic lid when storing leftover marinara sauce!