Palate Pleasers

Quick marinara sauce

Posted on: June 21, 2011

I’ve tried a few sauces over the years, but this is one of the best pasta sauces I’ve made.   It’s fresh, but savory at the same time.  And, it’s one of Giada’s recipes – I have 4 of her books and she has great sauces in all the books.  I should probably start using them more often.  This sauce is the bare-bones basic, flavored with fresh basil and dried oregano and then cooked briefly so it retains that fresh savory flavor.  I used this for another pasta dish and added  a couple spoonful’s of Ricotta to the sauce to lighten it up – it was just noodles with no meat, so the cheese added some good texture.  Once I finished dinner, I froze the rest of the sauce (minus the Ricotta) until I was ready to use it again.  Next time I make this, I’ll double it so that I have plenty on hand.  I’ll probably freeze 1-2 cups of sauce into Freezer bags and save it until I need it.  


  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes in Juice
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Basil, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt & pepper

In a blender, puree’ the tomatoes with their juice and the basil until almost smooth.  Set the tomato puree’ aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute both until very tender – about 12 minutes.  Stir in the tomato puree’, oregano and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally – about 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead.  If storing for future use, cool then cover and refrigerate.  Rewarm over medium heat before using)

Makes about 1-1/2 quarts or 6 Cups.

COOKs NOTE:  I have to say I was amazed at the thought of taking 2 cans of whole tomatoes and blending them up.  Since there is so much juice, my blender could only handle one can at a time and then I poured it into the pot – I think a food processor would work just as well and allow me to put 2 cans in at a time.   Also, by the time I got around to making this, the basil I had bought turned bad.  So, I used dried herbs – Italian Seasonings, Oregano and seasoned with Salt and Pepper as well as the Onions and garlic.    And, I did use sugar.  I’ve never used sugar before, but I know that when Mike’s mom (Gigi as I affectionately call her) is 100% Italian and makes her sauce with sugar also.  So, when Giada asked for sugar – I figured it must be the right thing to do.  And I find that it takes away the acidity and makes it sweeter, but still savory.  I think next time I will do the basil bunch, hopefully from the herbs in my backyard.  Enjoy!



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June 2011
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