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Marinara Sauce

Posted on December 19, 2011.


Marinara (mariner´s) sauce is an Italian tomato sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. There are several theories as to the origin of this sauce; however, this much we do know: 1) The tomato was introduced to Europe in the the mid-16th century by Spanish explorers, and 2) The original recipe originated in the Italian seaport of Naples. Due to the high acid content of the tomatoes, this recipe resisted spoilage which made it ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before refrigeration methods were invented.

There are many different types and styles of marinara sauces. I prefer a sweeter marinara sauce that balances a rich tomato sauce with fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. For this reason, I also do not use garlic in my marinara sauce. As with any great Italian dish, the secret is having fresh ingredients, the order by which you introduce them, and the timing that each ingredient is cooked. A good marinara sauce should only take 20-25 minutes to cook.

Marinara sauces are an extremely versatile sauce and can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including pizza, tossed with pasta, and served over meats. I even use my marinara sauce to boil and cook my Italian meatballs (see recipe).

But most important of all, marinara sauce is a very healthy dietary choice because tomato´s are a legitimate superfood that are packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamins. They are known to boost the immune system, help improve your vision, reduce cholesterol, and are rich in the antioxidant lycopene that helps reduce prostate cancer risk. Studies have shown that cooking tomatoes releases more of the antioxidants for the body to absorb than raw tomatoes.

For this dish, I prefer to use Italian San Marzano canned tomatoes with fresh, vince-ripened heirloom tomatoes.


1 28 oz can Italian chopped or diced plum tomatoes (San Marzano)
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
6 basil leaves sliced in thin strips
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/4 cup red wine (can substitute chicken broth)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch dry oregano
Salt and pepper


In a pre-heated pan on medium to high heat, add olive oil and saute onions until soft (about 3-5 minutes).  Add oregano and thyme.

Deglaze pan with red wine and cook until reduced (about 3 minutes).

Stir in canned plum tomatoes and chicken broth. Raise heat until sauce begins to boil, then reduce heat to medium for 10 minutes.  

Stir in chopped tomatoes. Cook an additional 7 minutes on medium to low heat.

Add basil, cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.


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Posted By: Chief Foodie Officer