Marinara Sauce / Spaghetti Sauce Via Bari, Italy

"This great yet incredibly simple recipe comes from my friend's mom, Maria Maffei. There is absolutely NO excuse to buy sauce in a jar when you can make this in no time flat. I like to pan fry two pounds of Italian sausage (links, not crumbled), add it to the sauce and let it simmer for up to an hour. NO WINE, NO SUGAR, please. Freezes very well, too. Maria ONLY uses Redpack Crushed Tomatoes in puree or Redpack plum tomatoes which she crushes in a blender, so look for them in your grocer's shelf for maximum flavor. Recipe can be doubled with great results, but tripling, etc... is not recommended."
photo by Rita1652 photo by Rita1652
photo by Rita1652
Ready In:
1 batch




  • In a 4 quart pot heat olive oil on medium heat and add THINLY sliced fresh garlic. Sauté until garlic becomes very lightly golden on edges. If garlic burns, discard and start again as this definitely affects the taste in a negative way.
  • Add can of crushed tomatoes. Tomatoes should be slightly chunky and not a puree. Turn heat up just a bit until mixture starts to bubble up, but not boil.
  • Place dried oregano in palm of one hand and use other to crush it over the pot. Add in salt and pepper and stir.
  • Lower heat to medium-low and cover pot, simmering for 20 minutes. Check occasionally to stir. Enjoy immediately.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Robyns Cookin
    This recipe proves that sometimes, simple is best!! I have tried so many different marinara recipes, but none were what I was looking for. This sauce is the closest I've found to a local Italian restaraunt. I have never tried making a marinara sauce without onions before, but I think it makes all the difference to leave them OUT! (Who woulda thunk it??) I doubled the garlic, and may increase it even further to six cloves next time (and thinly sliced, as opposed to minced or chopped, is a must!). It was a tad too salty for me, so I added a 15-oz can of diced tomatoes (un-drained), which not only cut down the saltiness, but also helped stretch the sauce a bit further. I found the oregano to be stronger than I would have liked, so next time I'll reduce it to 1 tsp (or perhaps even less). 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes is the right amount for us...a nice kick, but not too spicy. Although wine and sugar might not be bad in some recipes, I agree with the poster that it does not belong in this one!! Thanks so much for sharing...I look forward to trying again with my changes.
  2. Rita1652
    Sodium is way to high in this. I barely sprinkled a pinch worth. Used home grown tomatoes. Added parsley. Used twice the amount of garlic saving some that was fried to use as a garnish. Quick, fresh and easy.
  3. Miheehee
    This is the basic tomato sauce recipe I've been searching for all my life!!!!! The secret is in roasting the garlic just right. If you burn the garlic (surprisingly easy to do), it's essential to rinse the sauce pan and start over. We use 2tsp of chopped garlic and a can of diced tomatoes. DELICIOUS over rotini or (when we're feeling more industrious) Chicken Parmesan or cannelloni or as the base for Chicken Cacciatore. Thanks for sharing DeSouter!
  4. Goodeatin
    I was out of canned spaghetti sauce, so I thought this one looked good. It turned out so salty that no one finished their plates. I used coarse sea salt (what I had on hand), and maybe that was the problem. I do think this would be very tasty with much less salt. May try again and start out with 1/2 tsp or so.
  5. beth_robinson
    Delicious and easy! Made it 2 times in a week! I used Italian seasoning and reduced the salt Comes out perfect thus far.


  1. shrimpngrits
    I've been making my own spaghetti sauce for quite some time (mainly by trial and error), but usually the result was still a little bitter or, if I added sugar to counter the acidity, too sweet. This recipe is my best spaghetti sauce EVER! I doubled the garlic required, and used kosher salt instead of sea salt. So deliciously simple, tomato-y but not too acidic (I think because there's no tomato paste in it), and no distracting other flavors like wine, sugar, etc. Perfection! This will be my standard sauce recipe from now on! Thanks, DeSouter!



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