Marinara sauce recipe is very simple, cheap and quick to make. This authentic Italian recipe wants only 4 ingredients: tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and oregano.
Marinara sauce is a very popular dressing for Italian families. A concentrate of flavors and aromas that recall the summer and the Mediterranean regions.
At the end of summer, when tomatoes are ripe and very tasty, in many Italian regions it’s common to make tomato passata at home.
They produce it in large quantities and then store it for the rest of the year and use it for many recipes. Try making marinara sauce with homemade Tomato Passata! It will have a distinctive flavor, more intense and rich.
Traditionally, this sauce is used in Italy to season pasta or pizza. But increasingly, Marinara sauce is being used to dip various fried foods, including seafood, or spread on bread croutons.
Marinara sauce is a versatile and tasty recipe, rich in flavor but very simple to make. It will add an extra touch of flavor to your dishes!
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How to Make Marinara Sauce Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 15 Min
- Yields : 4
Marinara Sauce Ingredients
- 500 g (1,1 pound) of fresh tomatoes such as San Marzano, or Tomato Passata or canned Peeled Tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley (optional)
- fine salt to taste
BEFORE YOU START: the main ingredient for making Marinara sauce is THE TOMATO. If you have excellent tomatoes that are fresh and ripe enough, we recommend making your own passata or peeled tomatoes. Surely the taste of marinara sauce will be different. More genuine and flavorful.
To make the peeled tomatoes at home, simply throw them into boiling water and let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then remove the skin with your hands. It will come off easily.
Alternatively, passata (tomato puree) or canned peeled tomatoes are fine, as long as they are of excellent quality, possibly San Marzano.
Step 1) – Cut the garlic into small pieces then sautè it in a large pan with the extra virgin olive oil.
PLEASE NOTE: Garlic should be crushed or cut into very small pieces. In this way it will be able to cook in about 10 to 15 minutes and will be more digestible releasing all its aroma. Garlic is a key ingredient in this recipe for this reason we do not recommend leaving it whole and then removing it as in other recipes.
Step 2) – If you have chosen peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned), crush them coarsely with a fork. In this case you will get a more rustic sauce with chunks of tomato.
If, on the other hand, you have chosen passata, you will get a smoother, more uniform sauce. It’s a matter of taste.
Step 3) – Add the tomatoes to the garlic soffritto, stir well and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Finally, add a pinch of fine salt.
Step 4) – Add the oregano and, if you like, also a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley. Stir to mix the spices well and turn off the heat. The marinara sauce is ready. You can use it for dressing pasta or pizza. Or it can be eaten plain, either hot or cold, depending on how you want to use it.
How to Store Homemade Marinara Sauce
You can store Marinara sauce in a food containers in the refrigerator for about one week.
If you wont make Marinara Sauce in large quantities, you can store it for a long time for when you need it. In the next steps we will explain the most correct method of storing marinara sauce and how to vacuum seal jars.
Step 1) – Take a rather large pot, fill it with cold water, then put a kitchen towel on the bottom. Get hold of some glass jars with vacuum seal button lids. Immerse them in the cold water. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil. This way you’ll sterilize the glass jars.
Step 2) – After about 10 minutes from the boiling, remove them with kitchen tongs (which you left a few minutes immersed in boiling water to sterilize them) and put the jars to cool on a kitchen towel.
Now, with the help of a funnel, start filling the jars with the tomato passata, but not to the brim.
The bump in the middle of the cap is a safety. Now if you press it, it sinks in and you feel it click. This means that the jars are not under vacuum, there is still air inside and bacteria could form.
So to preserve the marinara sauce, you can do 3 things:
- freeze the jars, taking care not to fill them to the brim, and keep them for up to 3 months.
- keep them in the fridge and use the tomato passata within 1 week.
- make the vacuum: that is to completely remove the air so that bacteria do not develop. In this way you can keep the jars in the pantry for up to 1 year.
How to Vacuum Seal Jars
Step 4) – Close the jars then bring a huge pot. At the bottom of the pot, put a clean cloth. Lean the jars on the cloth and try to wrap it around the jars (to not crash the jars during the boiling process).
Fill the pot with water. Make sure to completely cover the jars. Use a lid if necessary. Calculate 40 minutes from the moment of boiling. After this time, turn off the heat and let the jars cool in the water. Then remove the jars from the pot ONLY when the water is cool.
Now the metal caps must appear slightly curved inwards and by pressing with your finger you should not hear the “click clack”. The jars are now safe.
If the sauce is perfectly vacuum-packed, you can store it for up to a year by storing the jars in a cool, dry place away from light.
How to Serve and Enjoy Marinara Sauce
Pizza and Pasta
Marinara sauce is the perfect condiment for topping Pizza and for season Pasta. In the first case you will have the famous Pizza alla Marinara which, together with Pizza Margherita, is the most loved and popular pizza in Italy.
In the second case you will have pasta alla marinara, another beloved classic of Italian cuisine.
The most commonly used type of pasta with marinara sauce is spaghetti
Another way to use marinara sauce is as a dip on slices of beef or veal. In this case the dish is called “Carne alla pizzaiola“, alluding to Pizza alla Marinara.
The meat is cooked directly in the sauce and then served completely covered with this delicious and really tasty sauce.
On Bread Croutons
Marinara sauce is also perfect for topping crusty bread croutons.
Slice some bread, warm it in the oven for a few minutes until it is crispy, and then top it with a spoonful of marinara sauce.
Serve the croutons as finger food for an appetizer or buffet lunch.
To Accompany the Fritters
In addition to the more traditional uses, more recently there is the custom of using marinara sauce to accompany fried foods of various kinds, including fish.
For an aperitif with friends or for a buffet dinner party, Marinara sauce will make your fried foods even more delicious and flavorful.
Serve Marinara sauce in small bowls in which to dip, for example, Meatballs, Fried Calamari or Shrimp, Fried Zucchini, Arancini.
What Does “alla Marinara” Mean?
The sauce “alla Marinara” is one of the most typical sauces of Naples and its surroundings. However, this recipe has spread throughout Italy, and the term “alla Marinara” is often used to refer to very different dishes.
Outside Campania, we often tend to call many fish dishes “alla marinara”.
But in the authentic recipe for marinara sauce THERE IS NO FISH, not even the anchovies in oil that are often added to this sauce.
The name “Marinara” has nothing to do with fish and seafood, but with the ingredients that sailors, “marinai” in Italian, carried on board during their long sea voyages.
Ingredients that do not perish easily and must be cheap, such as homemade tomato passata, garlic and dried oregano.
“Alla Marinara” therefore means “sailor’s way” and does not involve the use of seafood or fish