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Basic Red Sauce

Tomato paste, red onion, and fresh basil add a hint of sweetness to this quick-cooking marinara.

  • yield: Makes 2 cups




  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes with juice, pureed
  • 12 basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook's Note

Sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month.


  1. Step 1

    Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.

  2. Step 2

    Add pureed tomatoes, basil, oregano, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, 25 to 30 minutes.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2010