As our days grow shorter and cooler, a steaming bowl of pasta tossed with a quick and easy homemade marinara sauce hits the spot. These days you can get some really high quality canned tomatoes that will turn out a superb marinara in less that one hour. All you need is a few basic ingredients. I guarantee you that this quick and easy marinara sauce recipe will be a GAZILLION times better than even a high end jar brand. Trust me the taste is so fresh, that you will NEVER want to buy jar sauce again! Ever!
Marinara sauce is so versatile and useful for different meals. Basic marinara sauces include garlic, salt, and tomatoes, but you can get more creative than that. Some people add capers and olives to their marinara for a salty and funky kick. One of the best ingredients for marinara sauce is time. While my recipe is quick and easy, the longer you let your sauce simmer, the richer in flavor it will be. Italian nonna's often left their sauces sit for 45 minutes up to two hours so their sauce is chock full of flavor. If you have the time, try simmering your sauce for 2 hours.
By the way, did you ever wonder where the name marinara comes from? Well, it's Italian of course. It literally means "of the sailor". Legend has it that it was born in Italy, Naples to be precise. When fishermen returned home, their wives would cook marinara sauce. The sauce was served with the fish.
Sugar free sauce
Now, most recipes I have seen for marinara sauce use sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. Please DON'T do this! Mine is sugar free marinara sauce. Use a touch of red balsamic vinegar instead. Why? simple, You will achieve the desired hint of sweetness and also gain an added depth of flavor. An Italian chef I once knew gave me this little secret!
Of course, if you don’t like balsamic vinegar or have any on hand, you can add some sugar, but don’t overdo it. Store-bought sauces are full of added sugars, and we don’t want ours to taste like that. Simply add ¼ teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired tomato sauce taste.
You can eat homemade marinara sauce with everything. My quick and easy marinara sauce is super versatile. It goes well with most types of pasta, chicken Parmesan, or even as pizza sauce. It's also great with a seafood pasta, shrimp is my favorite.To give this marinara a bit of heat, add a dash of red pepper flakes. A spicy marinara sauce is called Arrabiata. Yes, a different post will be forthcoming.
Not everyone has tomato paste laying around in the pantry, but you should. My marinara sauce game really stepped up when I started adding tomato paste. It’s basically just caramelized and reduced concentrated tomato in a tube or a small can. It amps up the tomato flavor in whatever you add it to. It gives you that day-long-simmered sauce taste, without having to spend all day cooking your sauce. Be aware that it is more bitter than tomatoes. So you’ll have to adjust to that by appropriately salting your sauce and adding a vinegar or a sweetness to counterbalance the bitterness. Tomato paste is especially helpful when we’re no longer in tomato season. Farm-fresh summer tomatoes taste very different from out-of-season tomatoes, so the paste will intensify the fresh tomato taste, making you feel like it’s just another summer day.
The tomato is believed to be indigenous to the Americas. The Spanish explorers transported it to Europe. In Europe it soon became known as "poison apple". The reason? Well, aristocrats who were eating tomatoes ate out of pewter plates. The reaction between the pewter which, has a high lead content, and the acid in tomatoes was needless to say, bad chemistry! No one made this connection until much later. This is why tomatoes had a bad rap in Europe for a couple of centuries.
Tomatoes are a great source of nutrients and anti oxidants. Studies have confirmed that diets that include tomatoes are helpful in reducing the risk of certain cancers. Also, studies from Ohio State University have concluded that when tomatoes are consumed with healthy fats such as avocados or olive oil, the body's ability to absorb the cancer fighting nutrients in tomatoes increases dramatically.
Marinana Sauce Recipe
My idea of comfort food is steaming bowl of pasta tossed with a quick and easy marinara sauce hits the proverbial spot. Most stores carry some really high quality canned tomatoes that will turn out a superb marinara in less that one hour.
- In a medium saucepan heat olive oil. Add onions, garlic, salt and saute until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
- Add basil and bay leaves. Stir well and allow sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add red balsamic. Add nutmeg.
- Allow to rest for about 20 minutes covered. Remove basil and bay leaves.
- Serve immediately over pasta. This marinara will keep in the fridge for about 2 days.