Basic Marinara Sauce | Recipe | Budget Friendly

On those rare nights my mom couldn't cook dinner, my dad would.  We were guaranteed to eat at least one of three things:

1. frittata
2. peas with onions
3. pasta with a basic marinara sauce

I love, love, love angel hair pasta with my dad's marinara sauce.  Even now at my age, I love, love, love my dad's sauce with angel hair and hope to get it each time I go home.

Picture this: Cleveland. 2011.  It's a blustery, frigid night. It's been snowing for the past week and our food supplies have depleted.  I look in my cupboards and what do I see?  A box of Angel Hair pasta and a large can of tomato sauce.  We're saved!  It's the two key ingredients we need to make Angel Hair pasta with a basic marinara sauce.

A step-by-step tutorial is below followed by the complete recipe.

Heat oil in a medium pot over Medium heat.  Lower heat to Medium-Low and add crushed garlic.  Stir occasionally until garlic is beginning to wrinkle.  The garlic should be fragrant at this point.

Do not let it burn or turn brown.  It was cause the sauce to be bitter.

Add chopped parsley and let it cook slowly, stirring occasionally. When parsley becomes fragrant, check the color of the oil. It should now have a greenish tinge to it. If it doesn't, continue to cook slowly until the parsley has infused itself with the oil.

Add chopped onions. Stir occasionally until onions become soft and translucent.

Add tomato puree, tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  Cover partially with lid and simmer 20-30 minutes.

The longer the sauce simmers, the more intense the flavors will become.  If you don't have time, don't worry about it.  It'll still be good.

As the sauce simmers, boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions.

Combine sauce and pasta in a large serving bowl.  Buon appetito!

Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe
Yields: Enough sauce for 1 lb of angel hair

1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c chopped parsley
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 29 oz can tomato sauce or tomato puree
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 basil leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of choice, my preference is Barilla angel hair

1. In a medium pot, heat oil over Medium heat.  Lower heat to Medium-Low and add garlic.  Stir occasionally until garlic begins to wrinkle and is fragrant.
2. Add parsley, stirring occasionally.  When parsley becomes fragrant and oil takes on a greenish tinge, add onion.  Cook until onion is soft and translucent.
3. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper.  Partially cover pot with a lid and simmer 20-30 minutes.
4. As the sauce simmers, boil a pot of water to cook the pasta.  Cook pasta according to pacakage directions.

  • Follow your nose.  When you can start to smell a particular ingredient, that's when you know it's just about the point to add the next ingredient.
  • Crush garlic using the side of a large knife
  • My preference for tomato sauce/puree is Redpack or Contadina
  • My preference for pasta is Barilla Angel Hair
  • I chop up fresh herbs and freeze them.  So when a recipe calls for fresh herbs, it's ready to go in my freezer.
  • Tomato paste now comes in a tube.  I find this to be best.  You can use a little at a time and store it in the fridge.  No need to open an entire can and waste it.


Mary said... [Reply]

This is a wonderful sauce. I love the new look of your blog as well. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Pam said... [Reply]

Simple sauces are the best - it looks fantastic.

Michaela said... [Reply]

I wish our dining hall on campus could figure out such a basic, easy marinara sauce! This looks so much better than the one they make, and so easy!!