My "base for Everything" Zippy Marinara Sauce

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

I use this sauce for lasagne, manicotti, eggplant parmesan, and plain ole spaghetti and meatballs. In other words, it lends itself to all those dishes yet stands up well on its own. Recipe can easily be halved (which is usually enough for one large pan of the above) but also freezes nicely. Can be pureed with a hand blender if you so choose, but I like it a bit chunky. Peperoncino piccante concentrate is a blend of hot red peppers and olive oil, available at Italian groceries. If not locally available, substitute 1 tsp red pepper flakes. With these amounts, this is a rather spicy sauce . . . so adjust as necessary to your tastes !

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for five minutes or until they become translucent.
  3. Add the garlic (and the red pepper flakes, if using) and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes and stir well.
  5. Add the oregano, basil, sugar, peperoncino (if using), salt and pepper.
  6. Make sure you crumble the dried spices in your hand when you add them to release the essential oils.
  7. Stir well again.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for one hour.
  9. Sauce will cook down a bit and thicken.


Most Helpful

I halved the recipe and used the red pepper flake option. I used the sauce to make lasagna and it turned out to be the best lasagna I have ever made! It wasn't the exact flavor I was looking for, but still very good, a little spicy, and I will make again.

Soup Lady January 22, 2008

I just realized I had never rated this! Shame on me! I've been making this for months. It is the only sauce I make. I use it for pasta, lasagna, pizza and dipping. Instead of the picante sauce listed, I use the dried peppers from my Aunt's garden. Thanks FlemishMinx!!!!

Cookie16 July 09, 2007

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a