Cookbook:American Marinara Sauce

American Marinara Sauce
Category Sauce recipes
Servings 4
Time 30 minutes + 24 hours

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes

There is really no "right" way to make. Everybody makes it differently. There are many different recipes, most are good and all have their advantages.

If you are having people to dinner on Friday, make the sauce Thursday night and then throw the whole pot in the fridge overnight. Before dinner (about when you're putting the pasta water on to boil), pull the pot out and put it on Low. What a time saver! And the overnight rest period allows amazing flavors and sweetness to form. You will be impressed.

Recipe IEdit

Note: This is the classic expensive restaurant edition. You only live once.


  • 1/2 stick unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) diced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (trust me)
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 oz - 750 g) unsalted whole peeled tomatoes, reserve juice (use name brand, they're bigger and sweeter)
  • 1 can (6 oz - 150 g) tomato paste
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Exact, step by step preparation instructionsEdit

  1. Heat a large pot over medium flame approximately 5 minutes, until hot.
  2. Add butter and oil; heat until clear (bubbling stops)
  3. Add onion; gently sauté for 1 minute
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low
  5. Add garlic; gently sauté for 1 minute
  6. Add tomato juice.
  7. Add tomatoes, one at a time, crushing completely using your hands (watch for spurts)
  8. Add oregano and red pepper flakes
  9. Stir to combine;
  10. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Add 1 tsp salt and sugar, black pepper, and tomato paste; Stir until paste is incorporated
  12. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  13. Taste and season accordingly. You do not want the sauce to be salty, just not unsalty. You do not want the sauce to be sweet, just not sour. Season by adding the remaining salt and sugar a little at a time, stirring completely between tastes.
  14. Serve over al dente spaghetti with a side of Italian sausage or meatballs and a deep sweet red wine (merlot); serves 4, make this for two and enjoy again tomorrow night!

Recipe IIEdit

Note: This is a more rustic and less "Italian-American" recipe than the previous one.


  • Extra virgin olive oil (preferably Italian, if not Italian then Tunisian, French, and Greek are advisable) to coat
  • 2 tablespoons (app.) almond oil
  • 1 half of a head of garlic (less is acceptable) minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried red chile flakes
  • 1 cup (app.) (240 g) fresh basil finely torn or roughly chopped with small amount chiffonade and reserved
  • 2 medium to large onions (preferably red or yellow) diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 large can and 1 small can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand with juices
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) , plus as needed, white table wine
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste


  1. Sweat onion, garlic, and bell pepper in extra virgin olive and almond oil with salt and pepper in oversized pan
  2. Deglaze pan with white wine
  3. Add tomatoes
  4. Combine dried herbs and red pepper flakes in mortar and pestel
  5. Add dried herbs, red pepper flakes, and unreserved fresh basil to pan
  6. Simmer for an hour (or more if necessary), stirring occasionally.
  7. Add wine until desired consistency is achieved
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. Strain and add al dente pasta (long strand pastas such as spaghetti, linguini, and fetuccini are traditional in America but other pastas are also advisable) to pan with sauce and combine using tongs
  10. Plate and garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano