marinara sauce in a glass bowl on a wooden surface

Marinara Sauce

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
measuring spoons
can opener
cooking spoon
kitchen scale
cutting board
chef’s knife

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.

• 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.

1 hour

5 cups (ten 1/2 cup servings)

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