Mom's Quick Marinara Sauce

Quick Marinara Sauce is our mom's traditional recipe from Naples, Italy.  It is a sweet tasting homemade sauce that is made with garlic, red pepper, fresh basil and San Marzano tomatoes.
Her tomato sauce can be used in many of our classic Italian dishes and one you will enjoy making over and over again.  I always make a batch of sauce, keep some in the fridge ready to use for the week, and freeze the rest!

As a busy mom with a large family, I always have it on hand.  It's essential for me to have
fresh tasting marinara sauce that I can add to so many recipes, pasta dishes, quick pizzas, and baked casseroles. At times, I even add a few tablespoons to soups and to my stews to enhance the flavors.

When shopping for a brand of tomatoes, I prefer to use the imported tomatoes from Italy.  Always look for the brand that say "product of Italy" somewhere on the label, or ones that say "San Marzano" tomatoes, which is the region in Italy where these particular tomatoes come from.  They are very pulpy and juicy with lots of flavor and they give a hearty taste to the sauce. 

My sister Liz lives in NY where our families can find imported tomatoes in almost every supermarket.  Luckily, I can find a brand here in the South to love, the brand called Cento.

Image result for photos of cento tomatoes
Tomato sauce is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and C, and potassium.  That's a bonus!

Here's the secret tip:
When making the sauce, be sure to use a pot with a matching lid to it, and keep it near by.
And here's why.  The secret to the flavor of mom's marinara sauce is allowing the basil and crushed red pepper to infuse into the hot oil before you add the tomatoes!  You will need to cover the pot soon after you add in fresh basil to prevent the hot oil from splashing out. Then, add in the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.

Try our mom's delicious and fresh tasting tomato sauce!  You'll love eating it alone with some crusty bread, it's that good!


Mom's Quick Marinara Sauce

  • 1 can (28 ounce) Cento crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can (28 ounce) Cento peeled tomatoes 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 large basil leaves- rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • optional: 1/4 cup of water
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Open cans of tomatoes, pour them into a blender and puree them. Place them aside.

In a large sauce pot and on low-medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add whole garlic cloves and sauté the garlic until they turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Next, turn off the heat OFF, or remove the pot from the heat.  Have a cover for the pot near by.

Add the red pepper flakes. Then drop all the basil leaves at once and COVER immediately!  This will prevent the oil to splash all over the kitchen and onto yourself. After a minute or so, slowly stir the basil.  This will infuse the flavors of the basil and red pepper into the oil giving it strong punch of flavor to the sauce.

Turn the heat back on.  NEXT, add the tomatoes.  Cover with a lid and bring the sauce to a low boil.

Reduce heat and simmer the sauce for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
As the sauce thickens, depending on the brand of imported tomatoes, you may need to add some water if it's gets too thick.

Finally, taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Before serving, fish out the garlic cloves and discard them.  Allow the sauce to completely cool before storing it in containers and freeze.

Yields: about 2 quarts

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  1. I love quick sauces like this. I have my own go to recipe but I am always up for a new one! It looks great

  2. Thanks Jessica! We hope you like our Mom's sauce. Tell us what you think?

  3. its always more enjoyable and delicious to have a homemade sauce than storebought- this looks delicious

  4. The rich color and texture on that luscious marinara sauce is incredible !! Mom is always right:)

  5. Thanks Anna - especially for the tip about imported tomatoes - I've always wanted a good recommendation! Hope you are both well and hope you have a lovely Mother's Day!

    1. Thank you Tricia! Hope you can find the brand tomatoes CENTO, you will definitely notice the difference in flavor in your sauce. Have a great week!

    2. We have CENTO in our stores and I've been using it ever since - thanks again - this sounds great!

    3. We are so lucky to able to find these brands where we live. So glad you have been using these tomoates.
      Have have a great day!

  6. There is something very satisfying about making your own marinara sauce. The fact that this is quick is an added bonus!

    1. Thank you Cali! Enjoy the sauce!! Stay tune to more recipes using our moms quick tomato sauce!

  7. Pinning this to my pasta board! I've been craving pasta with red sauce :)

    1. You are so sweet! Thank you for pinning this one!


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