Alchemy—I mean, marinara sauce

Over the past years, I’ve gone from buying various brands of tomato sauces to making my own. Full disclosure, I do tend eyeball the amount a lot, or taste-test until I like it, so the measurements are guesstimates. But I’m sure you’ll find your own sweet spot with the measurements anyway, once you taste-test your own batch as you’re cooking!

To make your own marinara sauce, you’re going to need:

Kidding…but you’re going to need a decently sized pot

1 stick blender

1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes (unless you want to use fresh tomatoes, which by all means, go forth!)

1 can of tomato paste (optional)

1 onion (I tend to go with the big Spanish/vidalia onions)

8 cloves of garlic (I like a garlic-y sauce, feel free to tone it down if you want)

1-2 tablespoons sugar

1/2-1 cup olive oil (I eyeball a lot when I cook, so the measurements are guesstimates at best)

4 tablespoons oregano

2 tablespoons basil

salt to taste


Chop up your onions and garlic and pan-fry them in the pot with some olive oil. No need to do any fine mincing, since your stick blender will take care of that!

Not-so-finely chopped onions and garlic. I like a lot of garlic~

Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, then open up your can of tomatoes and dump those right in. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes, and then break out your stick blender. Mince up and mix together the tomatoes, onion and garlic. At this point you can also add tomato paste if you prefer thicker sauces.

At this point, I generally pour in some olive oil (approximately 1/2-1 cup) right into the blended sauce to help with consistency and let it simmer. Add in your sugar, salt and spices. I usually stick with 1 tablespoon of sugar for the whole pot, but I really lay it on thick with the spices. Of course, that’s all up to personal taste, so be sure to keep tasting (preferably with some mozzarella cheese…).

Let the pot simmer for another 5-10 minutes after you’ve adjusted spice and salt to taste…and that’s it! Enjoy over pasta, pour over chicken parm, or use as mozzarella cheese dipping sauce! I’ve also found that this sauce can be frozen relatively well, so if you find you can’t use all the sauce you’ve made, try freezing it (or canning it, if you’re able.)

I’ve also seen carrots and celery listed as ingredients on some tomato sauces (but rarely), and I haven’t tried adding these to the mix yet. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you might try adding these veggies to your sauce too! I think I will, next time I make this 🙂

Mmm~ Enjoy!

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