I love a good homemade Italian tomato sauce. In the summer when tomatoes are at their peak I love to make my favorite no-cook tomato basil sauce. In the winter when tomatoes aren’t so good, I’ll make a big batch of this Basic Marinara Sauce that can be used in lots of different recipes. There’s just something so satisfying to me about making a pot of homemade marinara instead of opening up a jar!
This recipe is from Giada’s cookbook, Everyday Italian, and it’s a great sauce that is used as a base for many dishes. I changed her recipe ever so slightly to my liking. I’ve used it as is over spaghetti, I’ve added meatballs, used it in lasagna, etc. You get the idea. It’s a delicious, basic tomato sauce and can be customized to compliment the dish you’re making with it.
Giada uses canned crushed tomatoes in her recipe. I seem to usually have whole tomatoes on hand so that’s what I typically use, but it doesn’t matter, use what you have. I think the key in this recipe is to taste the sauce as it simmers and add a little sugar if you think its a bit too acidic for you. I also like to add dried basil to this recipe since I pretty much use basil in all my Italian cooking and if I don’t add it in this recipe, I usually add it to whatever dish I’m making with this recipe.
Once the sauce is cooked and cooled, I like to freeze it in one cup portions. That way, when I’m ready to make something with it, I just pull out as many cups as needed to defrost and I’m good to go.Print
Basic Marinara Sauce
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, Everyday Italian
- 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 32oz. cans whole tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- sugar, to taste, if you think it’s needed, start with a tsp. and add accordingly.
- In large pot, heat oil, add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender, about another 10 minutes. Add tomatoes (if you’re using whole tomatoes, crush them first), bay leaves, and dried basil.
- Simmer uncovered, 30 minutes. Taste and if you think it needs some sugar, add a little bit to your liking. Simmer an additional 30 minutes.
- Season with more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
I like to use whole tomatoes and crush them because I like to leave them a little chunkier than the crushed tomatoes texture. Either canned crushed or whole tomatoes works well.