This basic marinara—calling for only five ingredients—is proof of how little is needed to deliver satisfying flavor. Some cooks sweeten their sauce to balance the tomatoes’ acidity, but I don’t find this hack necessary. Raw tomatoes may start out a little bitter, but that acerbity disappears all on its own if the sauce is left to simmer long enough.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ ounces fresh garlic, chopped (about 9 cloves)
2 large (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ounce fresh basil
medium (2-quart) pot with lid
1. Combine oil and garlic in pot over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic until golden and aromatic—about 1 minute.
2. Add tomatoes and salt, then stir until well-combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 45 minutes.
3. Rinse basil thoroughly and then chop.
4. Stir chopped basil into sauce. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce has mellowed to your liking.
NOTES & TIPS
• No fresh garlic? Use 1 tablespoon garlic powder.
• No fresh basil? Use 2 teaspoons dried basil.
• If the sauce reduces too quickly (begins sticking to the pot), reduce heat to low for the remainder of the simmering time.
• BONUS RECIPE: Chunky Marinara: Replace 1 large (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with the same amount of diced tomatoes. This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover or mealy tomatoes. Just chop ‘em up and throw ‘em in!
• BONUS RECIPE: Pizza Sauce: Add 2 teaspoons dried oregano during Step 2.
5 cups (ten 1/2 cup servings)