If you live in England (like me) you might not have heard of marinara sauce but it’s very popular in the USA.
When it comes to Italian meals most people tend to use Bolognese sauce or Ragu, either of which is much more complex to make. Marinara sauce is a very simple sauce that takes very little time – but there are 2 items that will make a real difference to the flavour:
- Fresh or tinned tomatoes
- Type of basil used.
In the recipe below I’ve used tinned tomatoes, and to add extra flavour I’ve used Minette Basil. The reason I used this type of basil is described a bit lower down the page.
How to make Marinara Sauce
To make Marinara sauce with Minette basil you will need very few ingredients
- 800 g Chopped Tomatoes (2 cans)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste – see note
- 1/2 cup Minette Basil – see note
- 1 Onion – finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 200 ml water
- Chef’s knife
- Large saucepan
- Food Mill (Optional)
- Chop the onion and garlic into small pieces.
- Remove basil leaves from stem and also cut into small pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in the saucepan and add the garlic and onion, fry until soft (about 3 to 5 mins)
- Add the tomatoes, and use a bit of water (about 100 ml) to get the last bits from each can.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Run through the food mill if you would like a smooth sauce
Marinara sauce with meatballs?
Marinara is great on it’s own with any type of pasta, as a quick & easy meal. In addition you can personalise it according to your own tastes – for example as the picture shows I like Marinara with meatballs. Easiest option (unless you want to cook) is to simply buy ready made meatballs, fry and add to the sauce. Meatballs shown are turkey meatballs.
2 Key Marinara sauce recipe notes
Note 1 – Fresh or Tinned tomatoes
In this recipe I used tinned tomatoes, only because the ones I grow at home are not quite ready yet. Fresh tomatoes will have much more flavour, especially if you use Roma or San Marzano tomatoes.
If you use fresh tomatoes then:
- Wash the tomatoes under a cold water tap
- Cut the tomatoes in half & half again if large.
- Then add them into the Marzano Sauce recipe in the same way as the tinned tomatoes
- After the about 20 minutes cooking time you will need to use a food mill or blender to extract the liquid.
- (You might need to run it through a sieve a couple of times, repeating the process with the material from the sieve)
Note 2 – Type of basil used
This recipe used very few ingredients and the type of basil used will have a major impact on the taste and flavour.
In the recipe I used Minette Basil because it has a stronger basil flavour. Most Marinara sauce recipes usually only mention ‘basil’. This is most often Genovese Basil, because that is the type sold in most shops, but if you want to experiment with different flavours why not try:
- Holy Basil – which will make it spicy.
- Lemon Basil – with a fresh lemony flavour
- Or Cinnamon Basil – Ideal for the Christmas season?
How to store the sauce
Stored in an container with lid it should last about 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Or an easier option is to simply freeze it in small portions and defrost when required.
How to grow Minette basil at home
Minette basil is very easy to grow at home.
For step by step advice have a look at ‘how to grow basil indoors’
Marinara Sauce with Minette Basil
- Chef Knife
- Large pan
- Prepare ingredients– Chop Onion and Garlic into small pieces– Remove basil leaves from stem and also cut into small pieces.
- Ingredients into saucepan– Heat the olive oil in the saucepan and add the garlic and onion, fry until soft (about 3 to 5 mins)– Add the tomatoes, and use a bit of water (about 100 ml) to get the last bits from each can.– Add the remaining ingredients
- Simmer sauce for 20 minutes
- Run through the food mill if you want a smooth sauce
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Hopefully the Marinara sauce with Minette basil recipe might inspire you to grow your own fresh basil or tomatoes at home.
When you are cooking fresh herbs tend to make a real difference to the results. Herbs are really easy to grow at home and many of them grow really fast.
To grow your own basil
Basil is very easy to grow your own at home in your kitchen, dining room, etc. For the best & fastest results all you will need are seeds, growing system and some growing lights. There is detailed description at how to grow basil indoors
To grow your own tomatoes
Tomatoes are not very difficult to grow your own at home – even indoors (in your kitchen, spare bedroom, garage, etc. All you will need are seeds, growing system and some growing lights. There is detailed description of the – indoor tomato growing system