Need a quick marinara sauce but there is none in the pantry? I’m going to show you how to make an easy marinara sauce recipe at the same time it takes to cook your pasta.
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Growing up, before my taste buds knew any better, I ate tomato sauce from the jar quite often. It was a staple, as I’m sure it is in many homes nowadays.
Once I began my culinary journey, I soon became disenchanted with jarred tomato sauce. It never tasted right to me. Then I had the idea of making my own tomato sauce at home. I can even adjust it to exactly how I like it.
But is making marinara sauce at home all that hard??? Not at all! With just a few staples in your pantry, I can show you how to make tomato sauce at home.
The best part about it is that in the time it takes to make this sauce, you can heat your pasta water and cook your pasta by the time the sauce is finished.
What is the Difference Between Marinara and Tomato Sauce
Here in the States, we use marinara and tomato sauce pretty interchangeably so I had to do some digging to see what the differences are between the two.
Tomato sauce is slightly thinner than tomato puree and the flavorings can vary depending on what the sauce is being used for.
Marinara is an Italian tomato sauce that is flavored with onions, garlic, and oregano. It’s mostly served with pasta, pizza, or meats.
So, I guess that this sauce is a blend of both so I’ll use them interchangeably in the post.
What Makes a Basic Marinara or Tomato Sauce
For a homemade marinara or tomato sauce recipe, I find that having these basic staples on hand makes it super easy to whip it together:
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Dried Oregano
- Red chili flake
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
I like to stock my pantry with a few essentials that I always know I’m going to need. I always have canned petite diced tomatoes and tomato paste on hand. Anytime I’m in the pinch to make something quick that is tomato-based, those two items are always included. Always.
If you aren’t using tomato paste in homemade tomato-based sauces, you need to! Tomato paste is a by-product from all the processed tomato goods made in factories. It has such an intense and robust tomato flavor, which makes it ideal to add to any sauce or soup that needs a strong foundation.
A great alternative to tomato paste, if you find that it has an off aftertaste (some people do), I would recommend tomato puree. It’s not as concentrated as tomato paste, but it will definitely get the job done.
I do use dried oregano in this sauce because I feel like fresh oregano might be a bit too pungent. But if you like the pungent-ness of oregano, go for it! Swap it out for the oregano, though I wouldn’t use equal fresh to dried.
How to Make Your Marinara Less Acidic
Tomatoes have a tendency to have some acid to them but I find that just canned tomatoes don’t have enough. I like to add a bit of red wine vinegar to my tomato sauce just for it to have a clean taste.
On the off chance that the sauce begins to have a bit too much astringency, add a touch of sugar to offset it. Works like a charm. Just a pinch though, you don’t want a sweet sauce.
How Long to Cook Marinara Sauce
Like I mentioned in the beginning, this sauce is intended to be quick, so I find that using great canned tomatoes, along with tomato paste, really cuts down on cooking time because they both have such robust and rich flavors already. It would take a whole lot of effort to get the same results from fresh tomatoes and a lot more time.
All in all, this sauce takes about 25 minutes to make. You could get water boiling for dried pasta, cook dried pasta, and this sauce would be done in that amount of time. With fantastic flavor!
However, if you do want to use fresh tomatoes, here is an awesome recipe for you to try!
Now depending on my mood, I might like a chunky sauce. Sometimes I like a smooth sauce. If I want a smooth sauce, I whip out my handy immersion blender and blend the sauce right in the pot. It saves me the effort of dragging out the base of my blender and dirty-ing it up. My immersion blender is a lifesaver!
How Long Does Marinara Last
According to health code, 7 days. Though, tomato products are more prone to bacteria growth quicker than other vegetables so always taste and smell if you are suspicious.
I hope this sauce is a lifesaver to you in a pinch or when you want to make a tomato sauce at home. If you enjoyed it and it saved dinner for you, I want to hear all about it down in the comments (along with a rating!)
We all know things taste better homemade, here are some other recipes just like this one:
- Homemade Semolina Pasta
- Homemade Ravioli
- Creamy Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Homemade Gnocchi
- Basic Pizza Dough
- Cheesy Garlic Bread Recipe
Some recipes that use this marinara sauce:
See more Sauces and Condiments
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- 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flake
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon basil, chiffonade
- To taste salt and pepper
- In a small saucepot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sweat until translucent.
- Add red pepper flakes and toast for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and toast for 2 minutes.
- Add red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. Add canned tomatoes and dried oregano. Cook until sauce has warmed and reduced by ¼.
- Blend sauce with immersion blender and mix in fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with favorite pasta.
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Nutrition InformationYield 1.5 cups Serving Size 1/2
Amount Per ServingCalories 158Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 811mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 16gSugar 15gProtein 6g
This nutrition information is just an estimate.