Quick Homemade Marinara: Transport yourself to Italy with Easy Ingredients
Mood Music: Mambo Italiano - Dean Martin
Many professional chefs emphasize using simple ingredients with a focus on bringing out their truest flavors to make something spectacular. So, now the goal is: how can you create something like that in your own home? I have the perfect recipe for you! Homemade Marinara.
Sure, it takes probably 8 minutes longer than opening a jar of pre-made sauce and heating it on the stove. But oh my goodness it is completely worth it. Charlie and I couldn’t stop saying “wow” with every bite we took. And when was the last time you felt that way about sauce from a jar?? For me that is probably…never.
We adapted our recipe from this NY Times one. So, if you want a dairy-free option, use their version (or leave out the parmesan in this one).
*PRO TIP* this really turns out best when made in a large skillet (not a sauce pot), which allows the water can evaporate easier and reduce the tomato sauce for a more pure flavor.
(serves 6-8 depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta)
- 4 cans (15oz. each) of organic tomato sauce (we used Kirkland brand from Costco)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 14 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
- 2 tsp. of kosher salt (we used Diamond Crystal)
- 2 large fresh basil sprigs (still on stems), plus more for topping later
- 1 T. fresh oregano (or ½ tsp. dried oregano)
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (grated or shaved), plus more for topping
1. Pour the olive oil into the largest frying pan/skillet that you have, and warm it on medium heat until it’s hot.
2. Once the oil is hot, add your garlic and stir it around until it sizzles and is evenly starting to color (but is not browned).
3. Then add all 4 cans of tomato sauce, salt, chili flakes and stir.
4. After a few minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the fresh herbs (whole leaves, still attached to stems, which will make it easier to remove later); stir sporadically for about 6 minutes. Caution: wear an apron! This stuff really bubbles and splatters!
4. Add the parmesan cheese, and add any more salt or pepper to your taste preference. Remove skillet from the heat.
5. Remove the cooked basil and oregano leaves, then serve over your favorite pasta.
We were trying out two varieties of gluten-free pasta, which ended up tasting great, but this would be wonderful on some fresh pasta from the refrigerator section of your grocery store (or that you made yourself!).
Amazing flavor. Affordable and accessible ingredients. What’s not to love? Try it out and let me know what you think! (or what changes you made to make it your own!)
This post was inspired by my older sister moving to another country and leaving her pantry items (*read* 20 cans of tomato sauce) for us to use.