Everyone should have a good marinara sauce in their culinary arsenal and this one is mine. It’s chock full of veggies, slow simmered and a blended into a delicious topping for pastas, baked vegetables and your favorite parmigiana. Homemade marinara sauce is also a great base for a meaty bolognese.
Start with a standard mix of vegetables, celery, carrots and onions, plus fresh fennel to sweeten and balance out the flavors.
Get the best canned tomatoes you can find. I like Italian San Marzano for richest, most flavorful sauce.
Add the tomatoes and their liquid to the vegetables and break the tomatoes apart with the back of a wooden spoon.
Then just simmer, simmer, simmer with the lid on or askew, stirring every once in a while.
After a few hours scoop the sauce into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce.
If you’re a canner — this sauce works well for that. Canning is not my thing, so I generally package it in plastic storage containers to freeze.
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 3 large carrots peeled and diced
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bulbs fennel diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3- 32 oz cans best quality whole tomatoes in puree preferably San Marzano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add vegetables and salt, stir, cover with the lid, reduce heat slightly and let the vegetables cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and they take on a translucent quality, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- With clean hands, remove tomatoes 1 at a time from the can(s). Carefully (so they don't squirt on you or the kitchen) squeeze them over your pot of vegetables, releasing their seeds and juice and squishing the tomato. Add the remaining tomato puree to the vegetables and stir.
- Add bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Return the pot to medium high heat, with the cover offset. When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat.
- Using a food processor or a blender and working in batches, process the sauce until smooth.
- It's ready for your favorite recipe, or can be canned or frozen in batches as needed.
Many recipes call for using the back of a spoon to push on whole tomatoes to crush them. I happen to find it easier to use my hands -- and frankly, more fun!
Ways To Use Homemade Marinara Sauce:
Don’t Forget To “Pin It” For Later!