Marinara Sauce

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Meet the marinara sauce recipe of my dreams! I’ve always been intimidated by marinara, maybe because I love it so much that I was afraid of messing it up. I finally faced my fears and tried making marinara every which way. This version is my favorite, no contest.

This homemade marinara sauce offers rich and lively tomato flavor. You’ll need only five basic pantry ingredients to make this delicious marinara sauce: good canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, dried oregano and olive oil. That’s it!

This marinara is exceptionally easy to make, too, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. You don’t even have to chop the onion and garlic. Yep, that’s right—just crank open a can of tomatoes, halve an onion and peel some garlic. You’re ready to go!

This sauce offers lovely, authentic Italian flavor after a 45-minute simmer. I tried to take shortcuts to make it even faster, but no amount of tomato paste, spices, salt or sugar will make up for lost time.

Bottom line: It’s impossible to achieve enchanting, long-simmered marinara flavor in under 45 minutes. So throw those ingredients in a pot, pour yourself a glass of wine and boil water for pasta. Dinner is almost ready.

After trying many variations on marinara sauce, I adapted this recipe from Deb’s tomato sauce with onion and butter, which was originally sourced from Marcella Hazan’s 1992 cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

I love that tomato sauce, but it doesn’t pass for marinara since it’s missing herbs, garlic and olive oil. So, I added dried oregano and two whole cloves of garlic (which you’ll smash against the side of the pan at the end).

I traded a reasonable amount of olive oil for the butter (you really don’t need to use a ton of olive oil here for rich flavor). I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick, but those are optional.

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