There are a few recipes that I refer to as “fundamentals.” Those basic, multipurpose work horses that every cook should have in their back pocket (and on hand) for a quick meal. Ones that are springboards – not just one-trick ponies – to all kinds of culinary greatness…and this tomato-basil sauce is one of them. Toss it with some warm pasta and serve, passing freshly grated Parmesan at the table, make sausage lasagna, ladle some over rolled out pizza dough and dot with your favorite toppings and cheese, serve it as a dip for mozzarella sticks or poppers, bake some Chicken Parmesan or make meatballs subs.

The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Marinara Sauce

Author: Cheryl Beverage Barnes
Recipe type: Entrées, Sides
Serves: Makes about 7 cups
Marinara Sauce
Marinara Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup hearty red wine
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • pinch of sugar


  1. In a large saucepan over medium, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onion, season with some salt and pepper and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for several minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, wine, basil, red pepper flakes and sugar. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes (you can simmer it longer – the flavor will only deepen).


…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:

Planning: The sauce can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days or up to three months in the freezer.

Product Purity: My advise when a recipe calls for wine: always cook with one that you would drink!

Presentation: This marinara is so versatile; throw a pasta party and set up a buffet with a pot of marinara in the middle of the table surrounded by bowls of different pasta (spaghetti, penne, fettucini), a big wedge of Parmesan for folks to grate themselves (a big wow factor), mixed salad greens and loaves of garlic bread. And then invite me over.

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