Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce, perfect for your favorite Italian meal. Done in as little as 15 minutes but perfect in 40. Five different add in options for more flavors!
Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce is a staple recipe of mine like my Enchilada Sauce. I usually make batches of it and keep it in the freezer for quick pasta meals. The best thing about this recipe aside from being a base recipe is that it is such an easy recipe to make. You can also adapt it easily for any other needs.
Just want to quickly add, totally unrelated but it’s worth mentioning because I am a proud Angeleno tonight: Kobe Bryant brought me to tears in his final game, with the love of his fans and with the amazing goodbye performance he gave us. Thank you Kobe for 20 amazing years. 🙂 … Ok back to Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce.
For many years I used to spend either hours making my Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce or I would use a jar (shocking I know) but it wasn’t until I started toying with quicker recipes that I realized I was wasting time and lots of money (good jarred marinara is not cheap!). Even using high quality ingredients in this recipe makes a delicious sauce that costs just a few dollars.
The key to the recipe is use the best ingredients you can in your recipe.
- For the crushed tomatoes, I usually use San Marzano, but Cento and Muir Glen are also great options if they’re more readily available for you. If you’re using a brand that may be more inexpensive, taste the crushed tomatoes first, you may need a hint of sugar to tame the acidity or maybe a small addition of white wine vinegar if the taste is bland.
- For the tomato paste I use Cento but really I wouldn’t stress the tomato paste. I even sometimes use giant glass jars of tomato paste from Armenian grocery stores with no ill effects.
- Always use fresh garlic. If using fresh herbs add them in at the very end.
- For the chicken stock I am still a huge fan of Better than Bouillon. I get the organic one from Costco and the cost per cup is just a fraction of even the boxed store brand broth you’d buy. I highly recommend it. Quick cost comparison? On Amazon its about ten bucks, give or take, but it makes almost 10 quarts. Imagine buying 10 boxed of Organic Chicken broth in the store… would it cost you a dollar a box? For the purposes of this recipe I call it “stock” because I make it double the strength of chicken broth.
There are a lot of ways you can play with this recipe to fit your recipes.
- To make this into a delicious meat sauce, swap chicken stock for beef stock. Brown your beef well, remove, brown your onions and garlic in a mix of the beef fat and olive oil. For a “sausage” flavor using straight ground beef, add some fennel seeds to the pot too.
- For an angry red sauce, pump up the chili factor and add a much larger amount of garlic, I use up to 1/4 cup of minced garlic.
- For a creamier sauce simmer the sauce down to a thicker consistency, uncovered instead of covered, then thin with some cream. I also sometimes add a pinch of nutmeg since the cream adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce anyway.
- For a fresher flavor, you can use fresh tomatoes, go for a really juicy tomato, as ripe as you can find. Hard, Roma type tomatoes won’t make for amazing flavors.
- For simple fresh flavors, sometimes I’ll use half the crushed tomatoes and add in fresh roasted garlic tomatoes. I usually do a couple of pints of grape tomatoes and skip the garlic in the base recipe since the garlic roasts on the grape tomatoes.
- Add chicken stock and some salt, pepper, fresh oregano and basil for an easy tomato soup.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (I sometimes use fresh)
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup chicken stock (chicken broth,water or white wine are ok too)
- Add the olive oil and onion to the pan and sauté on medium low until very lightly browned.
- Add the garlic and let cook for 15 seconds or so until you can smell the garlic.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered, on low for 30 minutes.