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Best lazy-man's Marinara Sauce?

josephnl Jul 18, 2012 12:14 PM

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. w
    wyogal RE: josephnl Jul 18, 2012 12:26 PM

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: wyogal
      scunge RE: wyogal Jul 18, 2012 01:28 PM

      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
        wyogal RE: scunge Jul 18, 2012 02:06 PM

        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
        eLizard RE: wyogal Jul 19, 2012 07:03 AM

        this is what i do. minus the oregano.

      3. chowser RE: josephnl Jul 18, 2012 07:55 PM

        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.


        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser
          iL Divo RE: chowser Jul 19, 2012 10:06 AM

          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
            cleopatra999 RE: chowser Jul 19, 2012 02:52 PM

            +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. s
            Sparklebright RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 03:03 AM

            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
              jjjrfoodie RE: Sparklebright Jul 19, 2012 02:15 PM

              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.


              1. re: jjjrfoodie
                Sparklebright RE: jjjrfoodie Jul 19, 2012 05:19 PM

                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. Njchicaa RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 04:42 AM

              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. g
                GH1618 RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 10:19 AM

                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. TrishUntrapped RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 01:58 PM

                  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. b
                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 02:01 PM

                    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:


                    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. roxlet RE: josephnl Jul 19, 2012 04:59 PM

                      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.

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