Easy Pasta Sauce

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce One of the first people I met twelve years ago when I moved to Cleveland was fellow foodie, Lynn Rollins. She introduced her grandmothers' marinara sauce to me, and I've been hooked ever since. Besides the great taste, the best thing about this recipe is throwing in a whole onion and not having to chop it: it's easier and smoother for all the little chunky haters. Just toss out the onion when the sauce is complete. Occasionally, I skip the first step and add already crushed (not minced sitting oil) garlic and/or dried basil directly to the sauce when caught without fresh. My kids grew up on this sauce and still love it. I've been making a double batch every two weeks and freezing it all these years, and it's one of the easiest recipes I make. Lynn points out that her full Italian grandmother didn't use balsamic vinegar in her sauce but somehow I adopted that into the recipe over the years. Her grandmother didn't use any dried herbs either, but I found it's good regardless; usually I add both along with a pinch of cayenne pepper. The original recipe included meat. Lynn makes her sauce with meat so feel free to include it if you want, but I rarely add it. I do add the rind of fresh Ramona or Parmesan cheese when I have it and one to three teaspoons of sugar depending on the taste. Every time I make this recipe I think of Lynn's grandmother and the love offered to her family and friends through this sauce and the fresh pasta she made to eat with it. Lynn and I continue this tradition of adding lots of love to the recipe for our families to enjoy!  
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2 tbsp olive oil 6 cloves of garlic 1 palmful of fresh basil, chopped small 1 palmful of fresh oregano, chopped (optional) 1 can (28oz) Italian crushed tomato 1 can (28oz) Italian pureed tomato 1 can (28oz) Italian tomato sauce 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground pepper 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (to taste) 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 to 3 tsp sugar (to taste) pinch cayenne pepper (optional) 1 whole onion, peeled (not pictured, oops) Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (not optional)


1) Add olive oil, crushed garlic, fresh chopped herbs to a large pan and sauté until garlic is tender.
2) Add all three cans of tomato product to the large pot. Add salt, pepper, dried Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cayenne pepper to tomato mixture and stir.  
3) Add whole onion and simmer for several hours until onion is cooked through. Squeeze onion against the side of the pan with a large spoon. Remove onion and discard.
4) Serve over hot pasta with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 5 days and freezes well. Ciao!


  • ckimball
    October 19, 2012

    I remember this sauce! I haven’t made it for years…but I’m going to do it. thanks for the reminder!

  • Judith the Dietitian
    October 19, 2012

    I’m glad cause it’s good! I think you must remember this sauce from an enrichment class we had on herbs.

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