I frequently have a need for a basic marinara sauce for pasta or dishes like lasagna, baked ziti, chicken parmigiana, polenta, meatball sandwiches, and others. Here is a very simple, but quite tasty all-purpose marinara made with canned tomatoes. It freezes well, so you could double or triple this recipe to make a big batch.
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp hot chili flakes (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Poach the garlic in the hot olive oil for a few minutes. The idea is to infuse the oil with garlic flavor. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic cloves and discard them.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the crushed tomatoes or puree and the tomato sauce. Place back onto the stove and bring the tomato mixture to a simmer.
- Allow the sauce to simmer slowly until reduced and thickened a little, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, sugar and optional chili flakes and taste the sauce. Add additional salt or pepper to taste, as needed.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.