Main Dishes


Are you needing that perfect, classic, go-to marinara sauce recipe?  One that’s simple to make and great just as it is, and also great as a starting off point for sauce building?  I’ve got you with this amazing recipe that I’ve adapted from Teresa Guidice’s Skinny Italian Cookbook.  Say what you want about Miss Teresa, but girlfriend has some GOOD family recipes.  This recipe makes about 6 cups, but it can easily be halved if you need less.  I love having extra on reserve in the refrigerator for quick meals, and it freezes great.

To get the perfect flavor and texture into this marinara sauce you need San Marzano tomatoes, and they need to be squished by hand.  You can squish the whole tomatoes in a separate bowl or in the cooking pan with the heat off.  Hand squishing the tomatoes makes the sauce smooth and adds some nice texture.  If your San Marzano tomatoes have basil leaves you can leave them or spoon them out, it doesn’t matter.

San Marzano tomatoes originate from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy.  They are considered the best canned tomatoes around.  It’s not essential that you use them, you can substitute any whole plum tomato, but I find my sauces taste best with San Marzano.

This recipe calls for only a 1/2 cup of tomato paste, and I know it can be frustrating when you don’t use a whole can of tomato paste.  Any time I have leftovers I freeze them in tablespoon portions on a baking sheet and later bag them.  It’s so handy for when ever you just need a little bit for your recipe.

According to Teresa, the marinara sauce should simmer at least 10 minutes, but I think it tastes best when simmered a good 30 minutes, reduce the heat if needed.

This sauce has a wonderful texture and great flavor, it’s amazing served over pasta, veggies, or my Chicken Parmesan Meatballs.  My daughter has also been known to dilute it down with a little chicken broth and cream for an amazing tomato soup!

Classic Marinara Sauce

Servings: 6 cups


  • 2 (28 oz) cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes (broken up by hand)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbs Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


  • Squeeze up whole tomatoes by hand in a bowl, including the juices, and set aside.  
  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add tomato paste and spices, cook for 1 minute.  
  • Add whole tomatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer, reducing heat if necessary 10-30 minutes.  The longer it simmers the better flavor you'll have.

I hope you find this simple clean marinara sauce as delicious as we do.  It’s a great sauce to make any time, from meals to snacks.  Happy eats!

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