This Easy Marinara sauce recipe is quick, simple and the perfect accompaniment to any type of pasta and/or meatballs. I've added fresh herbs, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar in addition to the usual ingredients you will find in most marinara sauce recipes to bring additional richness and flavour.
Because the sauce only takes 25 minutes to make I definitely consider it weeknight-friendly. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months so it's wise to cook up a large batch and keep a few frozen portions on-hand for busy days.
Olive oil: for frying the onions and garlic and adding richness.
Onions and garlic: Onions add a little sweetness that cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes and garlic and heightens the other flavours in the sauce.
Tinned chopped tomatoes: I really recommend buying the best ones you can afford. I find chopped tomatoes are one of those ingredients where you can really taste the difference if you spend a little more. Petti and Mutti are my go-to's.
Tomato puree: for an additional tomatoey richness
Fresh basil and oregano: Use fresh herbs where possible as they will bring more flavour to the sauce. You can switch fresh oregano for dry but I really recommend using fresh basil.
Sugar: brings a sweetness to the sauce that cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar: I love adding balsamic vinegar to tomato sauces. It brings a lovely richness and introduces a new depth of flavour as well as sweetness. Balsamic vinegar is another ingredient where it pays to invest a little more. Opt for the thick, gloopy and sweet kind instead of the cheaper, thinner, watery and more acidic varieties. I really like Due Vittorie.
How to make Easy Marinara Sauce:
1. Fry the onions and garlic
Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add olive oil and fry the finely chopped onion until soft. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer
Add the chopped tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano, sugar, balsamic vinegar and tomato puree. Simmer on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Pasta - combine the marinara sauce with any type of pasta for a speedy and tasty lunch or dinner. Be sure to top it with plenty of fresh parmesan. You can also drizzle a little truffle oil on top if you're feeling decadent.
- Meatballs - the sauce is perfect for Italian meatballs. Take a look at my Italian Turkey Meatballs for a lighter and healthier, but equally tasty and juicy alternative to traditional beef or pork meatballs.
Leftovers and freezing:
You can store the marinara sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. The sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months so it's worth rustling up a large batch.