I’ve shared many times here that I never learned to cook until I was an adult. And when I did learn, I relied almost exclusively on store-bought sauces because I always had this idea that sauces were difficult to make. Since pre-made sauces were so readily available at the grocery, there was no need to tempt fate.
One of the very first sauces I mastered was for my Asian Quinoa Meatballs. Once I realized my fears were unfounded, I was on a mission. They almost always taste better, I know exactly what’s in them, and I can make what I need so there’s less waste. This winter I made a mushroom cream sauce for my Skillet Green Bean Casserole, and I even made a fabulous Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing.
As much as I love Italian food, I’m still a little gun-shy about dishes from scratch. And I don’t know why. I did make Spinach Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups and they are fabulous. I’ve made homemade pasta several times, but my technique needs a lot of work. A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to delve more into Italian dishes. And I’m determined to master homemade pasta and pizza dough. In the meantime, I’m starting with sauces…and it makes sense to start with a classic…Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
This Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce is outstanding. It is rich and flavorful, and you can easily make adjustments to make it your own. There are a lot of store-bought sauce brands, and some are really delicious. In my opinion, this Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce is right up there with the best.
INGREDIENTS FOR EASY HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- Vegetables: Carrots, yellow onion, garlic
- Good quality red wine
- Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
- Herbs: Dried Thyme, Dried Oregano, Bay Leaf
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper; Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Garnish: fresh basil, fresh oregano
Just like with Traditional Bruschetta, simple quality ingredients create a mouthwatering dish.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT EASY HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE
- Quality tomatoes are key! You can use fresh tomatoes, but then you have to blend them. And that’s an extra step. I love the crushed tomatoes because the work is already done. San Marzano tomatoes are the highest quality canned tomatoes available, and that’s what I use.
- Tomatoes are quite acidic, so you need something to counteract that. You can use sugar, but I prefer to use carrots. It’s a great way to add vegetables to the sauce and to eliminate extra sugar.
- The most important first step is to saute the carrots, onion, and garlic in oil. This softens the vegetables and develops the crucial flavor base. You want to end up with brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, because those bits are flavor and you’ll scrape them up when you add liquid
- Don’t skip the wine! The first time I made Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce I did it without wine, and it’s just not the same. And I can’t stress this enough: use wine you like to drink! If you don’t like the wine, you won’t like the sauce. The alcohol cooks out, leaving just glorious flavor. I like to use Cabernet or a red blend because that’s what I always have on hand. A good chianti will work as well.
COOKING AND STORAGE TIPS FOR EASY HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE
Use a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot for Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce. The dutch oven is my newest obsession because it cooks more evenly than regular pots, and everything can be done on low or medium.
Once you’ve got all of the ingredients in the dutch oven, bring it to a low boil, and reduce to simmer. Cover, and cook for 45 minutes. The longer cooking time results in a much richer sauce. I don’t add the fresh herbs until the very end, right before serving.
Let the sauce cool completely, and portion into airtight containers. I use mason jars or Rubbermaid food storage containers. The Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months. I make 1/2 gallon at a time, and keep it in the fridge so I don’t have to remember to thaw it from frozen.
I’m so excited for all the things I can make with this Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce, and I’ve got some fabulous recipes coming up on the blog.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup good quality red wine
- 28 ounces (1 large can) crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh oregano (for garnish)
- fresh basil, ripped (for garnish)
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic add cook for 1 minute. You should have some brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and that is okay
- Add red wine, and scrape up brown bits with a spoon. Let wine cook for 2 minutes. Add dried oregano, dried thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Add entire can of tomatoes, plus 2 ounces of water. Mix ingredients together well, and add bay leaf
- Bring to a low boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook on low for 45 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and oregano immediately before serving