Total Time: 20 minutes

Spaghetti marinara is a very easy and popular dish, simple but with character. It’s independent from grated cheese. The name marinara (mariner, sailor), could derive from sailors enjoying this easy and quick sauce on their long voyages. Much before refrigeration, the acidity in the tomato kept the sauce from spoiling quickly. The other ingredients were also of easy conservation.

There are numerous recipes of the marinara sauce. Some associate the name with fish. There is no fish nor seafood in the true marinara. I heard in Australia the marinara recipe includes seafood.

Spaghetti alla marinara is the usual name of the dish as spaghetti were the first most popular type of pasta, but most any short pasta is used too.


Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • hot red pepper as you like
  • 6 San Marzano tomatoes pulp or can
  • 2 tablespoons black pitted olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • salt



In a large deep pan on low heat put oil, hot pepper and garlic cloves. Cook garlic lightly.

Add black olives, capers tomatoes with their juice and a little water if necessary, salt and cook about 15 minutes.

Eliminate garlic. Pour cooked spaghetti in the sauce, add parsley, mix well, turn heat off and serve


Note: if using whole red pepper, remove from sauce or it’ll be dished out in one of the plates. If you like, you could chop garlic and keep it in the sauce, only mind that it’ll cook rapidly and it must not color.

This is probably the simplest spaghetti marinara there is, yet tasty and appetizing.  Many times complicated elaborate works are unncecessary.

More spaghetti recipes

Return Home