Easy Marinara Sauce

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Marinara sauce is made in my household weekly. There seems to always be a container of it in the refrigerator. To me, making marinara sauce is as routine as pouring milk into cereal. I barely even considered it a “recipe.” Until I met my husband, I didn’t think making marinara was anything out of the ordinary. When I think about it now, I didn’t eat dinner at many of my friends houses. But the ones that I did, were Italian.  I did not see a jar of sauce at their house.

While looking at the contents of Brian’s cupboard in his apartment I noticed packets of powdered sauces. I must say that was rather horrifying. I heard of jarred sauce, but powdered? Then I realized that making marinara sauce is a skill. It is a recipe people look up and follow. Most people do turn to the jar as the quick fix for a meal. Making the sauce fresh is not a quick method. I had taken this for granted all my life.

As a disclaimer, I am not condemning anyone who uses jarred sauce. There are some great ones on the market! I have to say there is something comforting about the smell of browning garlic in oil that is extremely comforting to me. Just as chicken soup is to other people. I know my grandmother makes this, my mother and my sisters any given day. To me, this is more than just a simple sauce. It is now a traditional family comfort food.

Easy Marinara Sauce

This easy to make marinara sauce is the ultimate week night pasta sauce. Keep some in the refrigerator all week long!


  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, san marzano (I use Pastene brand)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled (leave whole)

  • 1 tsp kosher salt (use some more according to your taste)

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 Tbsp basil, dried (if you have fresh even better, see note at end of recipe)

  • 1/4 cup red wine, optional


  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet or medium sized pot. Add the garlic and saute until the outside of the garlic starts to brown. About 2 minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes. I like to remove the pot from the heat when I do this, and have the lid for the pot handy. This is because the tomatoes spatter a lot because they are hitting hot oil. Be careful!

  3. Return to the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil (if using dried). Then stir in the wine.

  4. Cover the sauce and let it simmer for upwards of 20 minutes. Make sure to taste it to see if you prefer a bit more salt.

  5. Serve the sauce over any type of pasta and crusty bread for sopping up the extra. Have some red pepper flakes handy for those who are like my grandmother and want to add a bit of kick!

recipe notes:

My family tends to like a less chunky tomato sauce. So I take the can of tomatoes and run it through the blender for a couple of minutes.

If you are using fresh basil add it in at the end. Stir it into the sauce a couple of minutes before serving. I usually will chop up about 3 leaves and add it in!