Classic Marinara Sauce

serve hot over pasta or cold as a dip

serve hot over pasta or cold as a dip

Hubs and I went out for a meal last weekend, and when our starter arrived (calamari), the waitress plonked down a small bowl of red sauce with it.

“What’s that?” I asked hubs, accustomed to creamy mayo with my calamari.

“It’s a marinara,” he replied. “It’s amazing. We should try making it at home sometime.”

slaving over a hot stove

simmering away

It’s unusual for hubs to ask for homemade versions of anything (actually it’s unusual for him to request meals of any kind, thankfully he’s very tolerant about what comes out of the kitchen) so I leapt into action.

The great and powerful Google tells me that marinara is a basic Italian tomato-based sauce traditionally eaten with seafood dishes.

it's worth splashing out for fresh basil and parsley

it’s worth splashing out for fresh basil and parsley

It’s incredibly easy but it does take some time. The secret to a good marinara (in my decidedly non-expert opinion) is patience. I let mine simmer for an hour until it reached the thick, flavourful consistency you’re looking for.

Also, if you can, go with fresh herbs. The dried stuff just doesn’t cut it.

Classic Marinara Sauce (makes around 3 cups)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley leaf, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano (I used dried here because I couldn’t find fresh)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over a low flame. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 minutes until golden.
  2. Pour in the canned tomatoes, then stir in the herbs and the tomato paste. Season well (being especially generous with the black pepper).
  3. Let simmer, uncovered, for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour over pasta, freeze for later use or store in the fridge.

Like this? You might also like:

3 thoughts on “Classic Marinara Sauce

  1. Hi,
    We’ve recently launched the website It’s a search engine that gathers all the best recipes from US websites and blogs in one place. is part of the world’s second largest family of recipe sites, with sites in 37 countries and hundreds of thousands of visitors every week. We’ve noticed that you have a lot of great looking recipes on your blog that we would love to feature on our site. To read more about how it all works and to sign up with your blog, please visit: or send us an email on We look forward to hearing from you!

    Kind regards,
    Site Manager

  2. Pingback: Remoulade Sauce (dairy-free!) | Things My Belly Likes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s