An easy and light marinara sauce is a meatless sauce you can serve with your favorite pasta for any meal.
Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe
I’m a fan of meatless and vegetarian recipes. This easy marinara sauce recipe is what grandma would make on Friday night for dinner. In our Italian/American family we would have spaghetti/macaroni with gravy sauce at least twice a week back in the day. On Fridays’ it would be spaghetti with this easy marinara sauce if grandpa didn’t bring home fish.
I’m guessing some might think making a spaghetti sauce is complicated and takes too long to prepare and cook. Today, who has the time to spend prepping a recipe and cooking it for hours.
This easy marinara sauce recipe is light and still made in the same traditional Italian style of my grandmother and mother.
Our family recipe for Sunday Gravy spaghetti sauce with assorted meat was made with either garlic, OR only onion – never both. I use red wine- though this is optional. I only started adding wine to my sauce in the last 10 years.
Grandma and mom didn’t use grandpa’s homemade wine which is what our family drank. Back in the day when I was growing up buying wine was unheard of since many Italian families had their own winemaker.
Now my tomato sauce recipe of choice is usually this easy marinara sauce recipe, which only means it has no meat in it. In our family, a marinara sauce is light and is not cooked too long (it’s cooked only long enough for the tomatoes to break down and the flavors to come together).
Or, for those who would like to add meat, it’s really simple:
- add 1 pound of ground beef, pork or veal to the shallots and using a wooden spoon break up the meat a little and cook until a pink (approx. 3-5 min.)
- pour out the excess fat
- then add the tomatoes and continue on with the recipe making sure the sauce simmers gently so the meat doesn’t get tough.
The added meat will make this a bolognese style sauce.
Spaghetti With Red Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti with Red Marinara Sauce is a meatless tomato sauce for any type of pasta shape you choose.
- 2 TBLS. olive oil
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 1/2 of a very small carrot peeled
- 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 28 oz. San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- 1 14 oz. tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup dry red wine (chianti or merlot - optional)
- 1 TBLS. chopped fresh basil leaves or dry basil if fresh is unavailable
- 2 TBLS. chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti cooked according to package (I used Dreamfields spaghetti)(use any pasta shape you prefer)
- In large saucepot heat olive oil and saute the chopped shallots until translucent (approx. 3-5 minutes), then add in red pepper flakes if using. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Add in the can of San Marzano tomatoes and using a potato masher crush the tomatoes which makes a chunky tomato sauce. If you don’t like a chunky sauce, put the canned tomatoes* in a blender first and then add to the pot. *(Using the peeled tomatoes makes the sauce lighter than if you use only tomato sauce.) Add in the 14 oz. can of tomato sauce and if you choose to use the carrot add that now as well.
- Cook the sauce on a low-medium heat to simmer for about 35 minutes then add ¼ cup red wine (optional) and simmer another 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions and place in individual dishes adding sauce over the spaghetti.
Sprinkle grated or shaved Locatelli or Romano cheese over the spaghetti, this is optional.
With this easy marinara sauce recipe you can save money and never buy sauce in the jar again. If you double the recipe you can freeze the sauce in appropriate size containers for at least two or three more meals. This will save you LOTS of time and money. Cook once, eat twice or even three times.
I also use the leftover sauce on my homemade pizza.
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