Every home chef needs a go to marinara/red sauce in their cooking arsenal. Once you start making your own, the pre-jarred stuff just tastes wrong, especially when whipping up a batch from scratch is so ridiculously easy. We’re talking 30 minute meal here, guys. Sure, we’re not slow roasting heirloom tomatoes or making garlic confit -this is a Weeknight Marinara after all – but the fabulous Italian flavors – onion, garlic, basil, and oregano – are still there. In record time. Slow roasting can wait until a lazy Sunday, or the next Snowmageddon.
The best thing about making your own marinara is that it’s easy to tweak to suit your family’s tastebuds. Garlic lovers? Throw in a couple extra cloves. Prefer a sweeter sauce? Sprinkle in a bit more sugar. This has been our family’s go to recipe for a couple of years now and it’s perfectly tailored to our tastes, which means it leans towards the spicy side. Not a fan of heat? Leave out the cayenne completely.
What you put this sauce on is completely up to you as well. Spaghetti is always a good idea but it’s also great on gnocchi. Come Friday pizza nights, leftover sauce makes a yummy dip for fresh breadsticks. It’s kinda the little black dress of marinara.
If you’re serving with pasta, I highly recommend topping with Garlic Oil Breadcrumbs. Even easier to whip up than the sauce, these breadcrumbs offer a satisfying salty, garlicky crunch. They’re a perfect replacement for parmesan cheese and inevitably find their way onto more than just pasta. So embrace your inner Italian granny and get to cooking.
- 16 ounces pasta of your choice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
- 1 can no salt added tomato sauce
- 1 heaping teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme, and parsley
- 2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups day old bread torn into chunks
- 1 tablespoon garlic oil*
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add dried herbs, sugar and salt and pepper. Saute 2 minutes more. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to pan. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Pour sauce into a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth, about 20 seconds. Return sauce to pan and heat over medium. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Place chunks of bread in a food processor and blend until coarse crumbs form.
- Transfer crumbs to a large bowl and toss with garlic oil, basil and paprika. Season with freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper.
- Coat a skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium-high. Add breadcrumbs to skillet and toast until golden brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Allow leftover breadcrumbs to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Divide pasta between bowls, top with sauce, toss, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
For more Italian inspired yummies, check out my Gremolata Garlic Bread.