The best marinara sauce! It’s so easy to make and it’s so much better than the bottled stuff! It includes San Marzano tomatoes, fresh onion, garlic and basil and includes olive oil and a dab of butter which adds a delicious light richness to the sauce. Serve over spaghetti or tortellini with parmesan for a simple, tasty dinner.
Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe
What does summer really mean? If your lucky it means you have an abundance of fresh basil growing in your garden so you need to find lots and lots of different things to do with it. I finally have a garden – er well it’s more of a little box garden but it’s a garden all the same.
So I’ve grown peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, basil, cilantro, oregano, and thyme and I’m still waiting on the green onions and rosemary (those two haven’t thrived like everything else.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I tried to grow way too much in a fairly small space. At least I kept the tomatoes and pumpkins growing elsewhere on their own). I’ve grown herbs in my windowsill for many years but they’ve just never thrived the way they do in a garden.
I’m loving being able to go out and just snip what I need as it keeps growing!
One of the Best Ways to Use Fresh Basil
One of my favorite things to do with fresh basil is make homemade marinara sauce. I fall head of heals for a good marinara sauce and it’s so easy to make a good batch at home from scratch!
I used to go all out and make the fresh tomato marinara sauce. I’d have to boil and peel the fresh tomatoes, then seed them, and then crush them – it was a lengthy tedious process. Then once upon a time I realized the canned San Marzano tomatoes are just as good for marinara sauce and life got a whole lot easier.
Really though, canned are where it’s at in my opinion. It’s like how it goes with canned pumpkin – you just get consistent results with the canned San Marzano tomatoes.
It Only Requires Minimal Ingredients!
This sauce is very easy to prepare yet the end results are truly so delicious! You think with it’s fairly short list of ingredients it couldn’t be this tasty but oh how it is! Toss it with pasta, add a fair sprinkling of shredded parmesan and final touch of fresh basil ribbons and you’ve just reached dinner goals! Just don’t forget the fresh crusty italian bread of some kind (even if it’s store bought) and some good olive oil and freshly cracked pepper to dip it in. Good carby meals like so are some of my favorite!
Can I Add Meat?
You can definitely add ground beef or Italian sausage to this recipe (about 1 lb. Brown it first then simmer with the sauce). If I do add it I usually cut the fats in half (1.5 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil).
What Should I Serve Marinara Sauce with?
- Pasta! (Any kind)
- Cheese tortellini
- Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
- Chicken parmesan
- Use it as a dip
Tips for Marinara Sauce
- Use only fresh garlic, not bottled, for best flavor.
- Use San Marzano tomatoes for best flavor. If you can’t find them Romas work too.
- Fresh basil is highly recommended here. Dried basil has quite a different flavor and it won’t be as good.
- Don’t skip the butter, just a few dabs adds a delicious light richness.
- For more flavor simmer it with a parmesan rind.
- Add red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.
- If you like a smooth sauce puree with an immersion blender after simmering.
- Sauce will freeze well. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More Italian Recipes to Try!
- Basil Pesto
- Pasta Primavera
- Chicken Parmesan
- Zuppa Toscana
- Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach
Homemade Marinara Sauce
The best marinara sauce! It's so easy to make and it's so much better than the bottled stuff! Don't be tempted to omit the butter, it adds a delicious light richness to the sauce. Serve over spaghetti or tortellini for a simple, tasty dinner. Makes about 7 cups.
- 2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano Tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
- 10 cloves garlic minced (3 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt, then more to taste
- 4 sprigs (20g) fresh basil
- Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese and chopped basil, for serving
Pour tomatoes into a medium mixing bowl then crush all of the tomatoes well with your hands, set aside.
Melt butter in a large pot slightly over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened, about 8 minutes.
Move onions over to one side of the pan, add garlic to opposite side and saute 1 minute, or until lightly golden and fragrant.
Pour in tomatoes and olive oil. Season with salt, add basil and submerge.
Bring just to a light boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, stirring occasionally, abou 15 - 25 minutes.
Using tongs, remove basil and discard. Serve sauce warm with pasta and top with Parmesan or Romano cheese and basil.