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Best lazy-man's Marinara Sauce?

I freely admit that I often find myself short of time and lazy about putting a quick dinner on the table...and indeed, I often use jarred marinara sauce. For the price, and with no or very minimal doctoring Classico's tomato and basil sauce is not bad. Nevertheless, I sort of feel guilty whenever I use it, because marinara sauce really should not be that big a deal to make. What is your favorite really easy and quick recipe for marinara sauce?

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  1. Saute onion, garlic, and a bit of red chili flakes, add crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle in a bit of oregano.
    ta-da.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      It's traditionally a sauce quickly made by the mariners/fisherman hard workers who wanted a meal that was not time consuming .Fennel ,wine ,olives capers can be added .Cook the sauce ,maybe add the fish ( if they were fortunate to catch any ) then back to work .

      1. re: scunge

        Yes, I looked it up on Wiki, too. I know what it is, and it further states that the boats carrying tomatoes back from the New World used tomatoes so as to last longer (acid in tomatoes). But I just gave my more "modern" take on a fresh marinara without the fish.

      2. re: wyogal

        this is what i do. minus the oregano.

      3. Try Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce. I use a combination of butter and oil. You can doctor it up but it's good as is.

        http://www.thekitchn.com/marcella-haz...

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          agree about the inclusion of butter in a sauce, just a slight bit is really all you need IMNSHO.
          cook down cut up tomatoes in a little olive oil, add grated garlic and onion, salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp Italian dried spices, let simmer forever....

          1. re: chowser

            +1 for this Marcella sauce, the only thing I do is simmer it a little longer than she says. so easy, they onion and butter add a richness to it. I love this sauce for everything.

          2. I seem to remember in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution series he made a quick spaghetti sauce with a can of tomatoes, oilive oil, some garlic, basil and salt and pepper.

            I usually buy the bottled sauces myself as they are good flavor boosters for some other things I make. I put some in gravies, mac n cheese and home made soups.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sparklebright

              Sparklebright, could you please explain to me how you use jarred spachetti sauce to enhance a gravy?

              The gravies I know such as beef gravy, turkey gravy sausage gravy (for sausage and biscuits) tend to be quite sufficient by themselves if dome well and correctly.

              Sunday gravy is of course spaghetti sauce based, but again, I'd never seed adding ready-made ingredients to my slow cooked Sunday gravy.

              i am intrigued and would love to know more about your process and thinking.

              Thanks.

              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                I add just a little tomato sauce, maybe a half cup or less.
                And then usually a little cream.
                The tomatoey sauce adds a little to the tangy side of the profile.
                And then the cream balances it out AND adds extra richness.
                It's how I like it anyway.

                I think I was inspired by something on Triple D or You Gotta Eat Here on Food Network.
                Started off with chicken gravy and some tomato sauce then cheese, cream and some peppers like adobo or pablano or something like that.
                It was for some Mexican dish.

                I don't know if that helps you.
                But it's the way I like it.
                And I am always asked to make the gravy at family suppers.
                I just add small amounts of each so that we can still taste the gravy.

            2. I saute garlic in olive oil, add lots of fresh basil and parsley, add salt/pepper, and then add tomatoes... whole if I have time to cook them down or crushed if I'm in a hurry.

              1. I've all but stopped using marinara in jars. I sometimes make a sauce with a small can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes with garlic and seasoning. When I make a large batch, I use two large cans of San Marzanos to one jar of roasted red peppers, with caramelized onions and seasoning.

                1. A little trick I use if I need the sauce ASAP is to put the canned tomatoes in a blender so they're smooth and I can cook the sauce quickly.

                  1. I've eaten jarred sauce my entire life (and prefer Prego to almost any of the fancier brands), but only recently started making tomato sauce from scratch. I use Mario Batali's basic sauce recipe and make a few minor adjustments:

                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                    I only use canned whole San Marzano tomatoes now, and hand-crush them. I usually buy sweet onions rather than Spanish or white onions, and I've never had a problem with them. If I don't have carrots on hand (which I almost never do), I add a bit of sugar instead, and last night I made a batch with finely-chopped fresh basil I happened to have, in addition to the dried thyme the recipe calls for. You can't go wrong with that recipe, and minor changes like mine never harm it.

                    1. My marinara sauce is the simplest -- Saute some chopped garlic in a little olive oil, add tomatoes - crushed or pureed - and some salt. Cook. Period, end of story. I use this as the base for many other sauces, but as a simple, elemental tomato sauce, it can't be beat.