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Under 30 Minutes

Basic Marinara

For great results, finish cooking pasta in the sauce, adding a little pasta water.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Basic Marinara

Source: Everyday Food, December 2012


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and garlic over medium until fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft, 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with 3/4 pound cooked pasta.

Reviews (6)

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    I tried all five of these variations (Basic Marinara, Meat Sauce, Mushroom Sauce, Puttanesca, and Amatriciana). They are all soooo good!

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    Amatriciana: Once onion is soft, add 4 ounces diced bacon and 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes; cook until bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Serve topped with 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano.

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    Puttanesca: Once onion is soft, add 3 anchovies, 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained, and 1/2 cup quartered pitted Kalamata olives, and 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and cook 1 minute, crushing anchovies with a spoon.

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    Mushroom Sauce: Once onion is soft, add 1 pound quartered cremini mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and saute over medium-high until browned, 10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup dry white wine and cook until evaporated. Serve topped with fresh parsley.

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    Meat sauce: add 1/2 cup each diced celery and carrot with onion. When vegetables are soft, add 1 pound ground beef and cook until just cooked through, 8 minutes.

  • sarahwashburn 12 Jan, 2013

    This is the recipe for the Basic Marinara sauce, but while the picture shows the different ways to tweak this sauce, the recipe doesn't include those instructions. I can't leave one comment long enough to include all the instructions. So, I will leave four more comments after this! In addition to the Basic Marinara, you can also make Meat Sauce, Mushroom Sauce, Puttanesca, and Amatriciana by adding in different ingredient combinations.

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