This is a basic simple marinara but big on flavor, it can be ready in 1 hour or you can cook it longer and even tastes better the next day that is why I strongly suggest to make this sauce 1-3 days ahead and refrigerate as the flavors will blend and intensify ---this freezes well so make a double recipe and freeze a batch for the next meal, you may omit the wine but I strongly suggest to add it in, it really adds flavor to the sauce --- please make certain to purchase only good-quality canned Italian Roma (plum) tomatoes for this it will make a huge difference to the flavor of the sauce --- all ingredients may be adjusted to suit taste, this sauce can also be simmered for a longer time in a crockpot, throw in some fresh mushrooms also if desired --- also see my Kittencal's Italian Tomato Pasta Sauce and Parmesan Meatballs
- 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil (I use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of my pot)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 -6 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste, the more the better I use 6 extra large cloves)
- 1 tablespoon dried basil (rubbed between fingers to release flavor)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (rubbed between fingers to release flavor)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (can use two cans for a thicker richer sauce if desired)
- 1 (28 ounce) canwhole roma tomatoes, undrained (break up with a fork before cooking, go ahead and use two cans if desired!)
- 1⁄3-1⁄2 cup dry red wine (you may omit if desired but good to add in, can use white wine)
- 2 teaspoons sugar (optional or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste, a good tomato sauce needs lots so don't be shy with the salt)
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- In a heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add in onions, garlic and dried red pepper flakes, basil and oregano; saute for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the tomato paste and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the Roma tomatoes with juice and wine; simmer uncovered over low heat for 1-2 hours (I usually cook it for at least a couple of hours) stirring occasionally.
- Season with salt and pepper and add in sugar if desired.
- **NOTE** if you prefer a thinner sauce, then add in some water.
Oh. My. Lord. THIS SAUCE! I had no plan in mind for a dish, when I decided to make it. I needed a sauce to just 'have on hand,' and this seemed simple enough. I'll admit, whilst I was making and tasting, I was not happy with it. I made it with the wine, not the best (but not the worst) 'chunky' crushed tomatoes (with garlic and basil), and about a can and a half of tomato paste. Simmered a good long while, but near the end .. I felt it missed that last little 'finish.' I dispatched a bit into a small bowl, and tried it with a bit of red wine vinegar. That helped. Then, the "AH HA!". I added about 1/3rd to 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan, and that was that.
BUT. The real deal was sealed the next day, after it had time to sit. THIS SAUCE IS SO [expletive deleted] SENSATIONAL! The depth with the wine, I can't even believe I made THIS sauce, it's so good. I'm eating it cold, out of the jar. I'm eating it as a dip, for my potato chips, I CAN NOT EAT THIS ENOUGH.
Make this sauce, indefinitely. But, my biggest advice is to MAKE THIS SAUCE, AHEAD, and give it a good few hours AT LEAST to let the flavors involve themselves fully with each other. You won't be sorry.
Very good and easy. I've made this recipe with wine & it was very good. Tonight I didn't have wine on hand so I added about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar which gave the sauce a nice depth.
My husband and I always make a double batch of this and keep it frozen in easy to use sizes. I usually freeze 15oz for the two of us, sometimes it is too much but it is never too little. On pasta night I start a big pot of water and another with one of these frozen containers plopped in and four meatballs. Everything is warmed and ready when the pasta is. It is a real weeknight time saver.