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Rao's Marinara Sauce

This great recipe is from "Rao's Cookbook," by Frank Pellegrino.

  • Yield: Makes 7 cups
Rao's Marinara Sauce

Source: The Martha Stewart Show


  • Four 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes with basil, preferably from San Marzano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, torn (optional)
  • Pinch of dried oregano


  1. Remove tomatoes from can and place in a large bowl, reserving juices. Crush tomatoes using your hands; remove and discard the hard core from stem end, and any skin and tough membrane; set aside.

  2. Place oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, and cook until soft and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and reserved juices; season with salt. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 hour.

  3. Stir in basil, if using, oregano, and season with pepper; continue cooking 1 minute more. Remove from heat and serve.

Reviews (7)

  • grizzlione 21 Apr, 2013

    my secret ingredient .... Martini and Rossi sweet vermouth ... depending on the quantity of canned San Marzano tomatoes... i would add about a cup, minimum, to 3 cans.... It adds a pungency to the sauce... a depth of flavor that is really, really excellent! i always get rave reviews ...

  • Coronita 30 Sep, 2012

    I use the giant San Marzano tomatoes from Costco, it's called Nina and it's like $4. The most important step in making this sauce is hand squeezing the peeled tomatoes, making sure to remove the hard middle core and throwing that away.
    Usually I use sweet onion and grate it instead of chopping so it melts into the sauce. This can has basil ibut you can always add more at the end.
    My sauce comes out just like the jar but for pennies and I freeze it in portions and use it for weeks. Yum!

  • jdorourk 6 Nov, 2011

    I made this and initially it was way too bland! I had though only 4 cloves garlic was too little for that many tomatoes. I ended up adding more spices - granulated garlic, red pepper flakes- and let it simmer for another couple hours and it got better.

  • Beckypsych 23 Sep, 2011

    So fresh tasting! Next time I'm going to add a few more spices and more of them. Needed some more salt or garlic perhaps.

  • MBKG 18 Jul, 2010

    I made Rao's Arrabbiata Sauce last night, and it was awesome! Just as tasty as the jar. Its the same recipe as the Marinara just add pepper flakes for the spice. However I did need to cook it longer then an hour to get the flavors to come together. Adding the fresh basil at the end completed the taste. I am sure I will routinely buy Rao's at the store for the expensive price of $10 a jar, but its nice to know I can make it a home much cheaper if I want to invest the time.

  • tjiordano 21 Feb, 2010

    Grrr, just add a pinch of sugar to the sauce. It will make it less acidic, but not really sweet.

  • Grrr 19 Dec, 2009

    I made this sauce and used a 'nonreactive' pan and it still tastes a bit acidic. How do I make it less acidic?

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