Basic Marinara Sauce

A simple, basic marinara, also known simply as a red sauce.  This should be on everyone’s go to list of recipes. It is such a quick and simple way to make a wonderful and versatile sauce that you will be amazed.  The ingredients are usually on hand and you can build on this sauce, adding meat or vegetables when you get more adventurous.  I use it for pasta, lasagna, manicotti, pizza, and as a sauce for clams and mussels.

Yields:  3 to 4 cups                                       Prep/Cook Time:  30 minutes


1  Small anchovy fillet, packed in olive oil (totally optional, but it is the secret ingredient in my sauce)

2  Tablespoons of olive oil

2  Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1  Medium onion, small diced (I use a red onion, but use whatever you have on hand)

1  Pinch of red pepper flake

1  28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Freshly chopped basil to taste (if you have only dried basil, use that)

A splash of wine, optional


1.  Heat olive oil in a pan

Note:  I use a saute pan for this sauce.  It is simply because the larger cooking surface allows the sauce to cook and thicken a little quicker than in a sauce pan.

2.  Add your anchovy to heated oil, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Trust me, it will dissolve quickly into the oil for an incredible flavor.

3.  Add your onions, garlic, and red pepper flake and saute until the onions are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4.  Add your can of crushed tomatoes.  In addition, add 1/2 of a can of water.  This is a great way to get all of the crushed tomatoes out of the can.  Add that splash of wine at this time, if using.

5.  Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

6.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and your basil.  That’s it!  You are ready to enjoy!

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