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There are so many ways to make marinara sauce and everyone has their personal preferences. A marinara sauce can be whipped up fresh pretty quickly – here’s how.


4 Ingredients

There are a few must haves to make the best marinara sauce in my opinion.

  1. San Marzano tomatoes
  2. Fresh basil
  3. Parmesan cheese rinds
  4. Immersion blender
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Parmesan cheese rinds as such a depth of flavor to the sauce

I definitely prefer canned San Marzano tomatoes. These tomatoes are picked at their peak in the Campania region of Italy, where they grow in the volcanic soil. They are a low acid, meaty tomato and make an excellent tomato sauce.  Most grocery stores carry the canned San Marzanos now. I bought a HUGE can at Costco for 6$ 100oz. That was a steal because the local grocery stores sell a 28 oz can for 4.99.

If you use tomatoes that you feel are a little acidic, the trick is to add just a little sugar to the sauce.  My mom used to do this all the time. It softens that acidity.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 100 ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid
kosher salt
Parmesan cheese rinds
20 fresh basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste


Heat the oil in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Mince the garlic cloves with a knife, toss them into the oil, and cook, about 2 minutes.

Carefully slide the tomatoes and their liquid into the oil. Bring to a boil, and season lightly with salt. Lower the heat so the sauce is at a simmer, and cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a whisk or spoon, add the Parmesan cheese rinds, cook until the sauce is chunky and thick, about 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in a huge bunch of basil (mine was from my garden) about 5 minutes before the sauce is finished. Taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

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Mince your garlic cloves

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Saute garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic or it will add a bitter taste.

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Add the tomatoes

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unnamed (8) Add the Parmesan cheese rinds to the sauce

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Add basil at the end of cooking

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My best tip for making a marinara sauce, though, is to puree it.  Some people think it’s bad to puree the sauce, but I think that’s just wrong.  If you are using canned whole tomatoes, there is something about pureeing the sauce that deepens the flavor.  It makes a big difference. An immersion blender is the handiest thing to have for this.  If you don’t have one, get one – you will love it.  It can be very messy to transfer hot soup or sauce to a blender.

The sauce freezes very well.  I let my sauce cool overnight in the fridge with the Parmesan cheese rinds still in the sauce. I like freezing the sauce instead of canning it, just because it’s so much easier.  I just pour the sauce in a Tupperware container and throw it in the freezer. Or to make a lovely gift for someone, pour the sauce into some jars, add a label and viola! Dinner is served.

I am a girl who loves food. I grew up with a Mom who was an excellent cook. She wrote a cookbook when I was a child, and as they say, the rest is history. Started a catering business in 2005 and haven’t looked back. I am a mom to 2 beautiful girls and I want them to love food as much as I do. In the meantime, I love life and love my job @ http://www.monicaskitchen.com