Total Time: 20 minutes

Marinara recipe is very popular in the States. The sauce name is not so celebrated in Italy. It is commonly referred generically as salsa di pomodoro, tomato sauce. Some call it sugo finto, fake condiment, as without meat or fish.

As a tomato sauce, it has different variations and interpretations. There are key ingredients guaranteed to be there, and they always are part of it: tomato, garlic and herbs, especially parsley, which is more readily available throughout the year.

The tomato should be San Marzano. Roma or plum tomatoes are similar, but the San Marzano variety has a more elongated shape and has a thicker juicier flesh with few seeds. Even though they are produced everywhere, for some reason, the Italian San Marzano taste better.

The name marinara – sailor’s way or style – has nothing to do with fish. Some say the name came from Naples, where sailors’ wives made this tomato sauce for their men returning to port. Or, more likely, it was an easy sauce for sailors themselves to make at sea in their long voyages using ingredients of easy conservation as in this popular version of the marinara recipe in spaghetti marinara. As it is a simple sauce, it can be and it is the base for other more elaborate sauces.

The marinara recipe is ideal for a quick pasta recipe. It’s ready when your pasta is or even before. You’ll appreciate the difference, from the marinara served in some restaurants. You may guess and I can tell you, I’ve seen spaghetti marinara, the sauce straight from a gallon can.

We live in a world where practicality and speed is of the essence and the quality in the food is sacrificed. There was an ad on TV years ago about a marinara recipe. The sauce was simmered for hours infused with secret herbs and tended with loving care. Something to that tune, unbelievable!

Nothing that mysterious and complicated in a marinara. The ad played well with the uninformed, ready to save those long hours and still enjoy a good plate of pasta. I don’t deny that a marinara from a jar of “progresso” may be tasting good. But just the thought that it was made times ago and the additives involved, makes me pass it.

I’d rather work 15 minutes and enjoy the fruit of my labor, which, after all is a pleasure.

What do you think?


Ingredients for 4-6 people:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 6 San Marzano tomatoes  chopped
  • Hot pepper to your liking
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • salt

Makes more than a cup



Warm up oil in a saucepan on medium low heat. Add onion and cook until soft about 5 minutes

Stir in the garlic and let it go for another minute or so. Then add tomatoes, salt and hot pepper. If mixture too dry add some water

Let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. About the end of cooking stir in parsley.

More sauces for pasta

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