An Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe: Homemade Marinara Sauce

by Pamela

marinara sauce, tomato sauce recipe, san marzano tomatoes, homemade pasta sauce
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Having a really good tomato sauce recipe is the key to making your favorite Italian dishes taste great. You could use the jarred stuff, but with tomatoes nearing the end of their season, and that great tomatoey flavor being so concentrated, now is the perfect time for making homemade marinara sauce. This easy marinara sauce is the perfect base for making amazing pasta sauces (just add meat, seafood or veggies), slathering on pizza dough then topping with your favorite things, used as a dipping sauce for appetizer recipes or just using it as is.

I’ve been making homemade pasta sauce for a long time (I started making it with  my mom when I was a little). I’ve always made it from the tomatoes I grow in my garden, the San Marzano tomatoes being my favorite. But this year I had no tomatoes (sadness). The tomato crop in my garden has been pretty sad the past couple of years, so this year I gave the dirt a rest and didn’t plant any. Which meant any tomato sauce making would be determined on what I could find at the farmer’s market. Thankfully, I was able to find a market that had San Marzano tomatoes.

Marinara sauce made with san marzano tomatoes

I like the San Marzano tomatoes because they have a more ‘tomatoey’ flavor, if that makes any sense. Roma tomatoes (you’ve seen those oblong Roma’s at the grocery store) work too, but they don’t have quite the same flavor. Either way, these two types of tomatoes are best for sauce making because they are meatier. Did you ever notice when you cut into a San Marzano or Roma tomato that they aren’t as watery as those other round tomatoes? That’s what makes them better for sauce making…more tomato…less juice.

This tomato sauce recipe is very similar to the sauce used to make the meat ragu recipe I posted a couple of years ago.

If you’re into canning things, you could very easily can this marinara sauce and have plenty of jars of it available at your beck and call. Since I don’t can, I freeze the sauce. Freezing the sauce requires two things: a pot of the sauce and a 1 gallon freezer bag. Oh, and you’ll probably want to grab a permanent marker so you can write on the bag what it is and when you put it in the freezer.

Freezing the marinara sauce couldn’t be more simple. Once you’ve made the sauce and let it cool to room temperature, simply portion it out the way you would be using it and pour it into the bag. Remove as much air from the bag as you can, this helps to prevent freezer burn and makes it much easier to stack in your freezer, then seal it. (You’ll probably want to write on the bag before you fill it, but I never remember to do it until after it’s filled.) Lay it flat in your freezer until it’s frozen solid. Then, since it’s been frozen flat, you can store it vertically or horizontally depending on what works best in your freezer.

San Marzano tomatoes in an easy tomato sauce recipe

This marinara sauce recipe is easily doubled or tripled with fantastic results. In fact, I usually make a triple batch of this because by the time I’m done cooking it, and letting it cool, I find that a third of it is missing and Craig has marinara sauce on his chin and down his shirt. Hmmmm…I wonder where that sauce went? But who can blame him? That smell of caramelizing onions and garlic is a siren song that most people find really hard to resist.

And before you start busting my chops about the pictures….Yes, I am aware that the 2 photos of marinara sauce surrounding by ingredients do not show San Marzano tomatoes (the photo of the tomatoes in the colander are the San Marzano’s). I didn’t have enough extra, after making the sauce to put them in the pictures.

What would you make with this marinara sauce?

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Some things really are directly proportional to one another.

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5 comments

Basil September 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Yum! You’re right – home made is nothing like jarred. Especially with fresh tomatoes. I’m sorry to hear that your plants haven’t yielded recently, that stinks. Great recipe, and good freezing tips!

Pamela September 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Basil, getting the ground prepped for putting them in next summer and keeping my fingers crossed. Glad you liked the freezer tips. I think a lot of people don’t make their own sauce because they either don’t know how to can foods, don’t have the room or just don’t want to. I like to let people know that if you’ve got a freezer, you can still make homemade stuff to use later. Check out my FaceBook page for some freezer tips for hatch chili’s – http://on.fb.me/QgwgrS

Belinda @zomppa September 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Nothing like homemade sauce – looks so thick! Carmelizing the onions first is a great idea.

Pamela September 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Belinda, once you make your own sauce…you’ll be hard pressed to find any jarred stuff that tastes as good.

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