Wednesday, March 7, 2012

simple marinara sauce

Yummy note: This is a simple, yet very flavorful and versatile sauce, not to mention nice on the pocketbook! This has become one of my new standby recipes, as I love how it can easily be put together by using basic pantry items. I found this recipe on a fellow bloggers site called Jenna's Everything. Jenna's blog is a wonderful little find that has a bit of everything on it, a little cooking, some great photography, a handful of family stories, and not to mention she's in a band! What a great mix of everything, I knew I had to use this recipe now since she is a local Chicago gal. This simple tomato sauce fit perfectly for my best spaghetti and red sauce challenge for this month's Mom's Crazy Cooking Challenge.

Simple Marinara Sauce

1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion (white or yellow)
couple of garlic cloves, diced
1 celery stalk, diced (I included the whole stalk, leaves and all)
1 carrot, diced
2 - 28 ounce can crushed or whole tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
6 or so basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper for seasoning
*optional add-in: diced peppers, or crushed red pepper flakes for additional flavor

Dice onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. In a large pan or dutch oven, saute all of the diced ingredients. 

Simmer on low to medium heat until veggies are soft and translucent. I added in just a shake or two of some additional Italian seasonings here too.  

Next, add in your canned tomatoes, basil and bay leaves. 

Break up the tomatoes a bit with a masher if you are using whole tomatoes. You can add in additional salt, pepper, or any other seasonings at this point. Note, depending on the flavor or brand of tomatoes you use, you might need to add in a teaspoon or so of sugar to cut through the acidity in the sauce. So just remember to taste it throughout the process and see how the flavor develops.   

Cover and simmer on low for atleast 45 minutes or so. The longer, the better really, as the flavor really starts to develop. Remember to discard the bay leaf before serving.

If you want a chunkier sauce, use a masher and break up the tomatoes and vegetables a bit more before serving, or pulse in a food processor or blender to achieve desired thickness. 

Serve with spaghetti, or your favorite pasta dish, vegetable, or even use some of the leftover marinara sauce for a pizza sauce too! Oh so yummy...

This is a great make ahead, marinara recipe that freezes well too. 

Check out the other great spaghetti and red sauce recipes here! 




  1. Thanks for your kind words, Heather! I'm so glad the sauce was a hit. I think I'll add red pepper flakes next time too. =)

  2. This is similar to my sauce... you're making me hungry!

    I hope you'll stop by and visit my CCC - Spaghetti Pie


  3. Looks wonderful.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my CCC entry: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  4. We always use bay leaves to cut the bitterness, when my kids were little we told them it was lucky to get one on their plate! Saved me from trying to fish them out, haha. Now following you on FB and GFC.

  5. This is a wonderful and easy sauce! Looks delish!

    Jen #19