Drool-worthy Marinara Sauce

Since you know me so well my dear readers, you also know that I have a torrid affair with the la Cucino Italiana. But shhh.... this has to be just between you and I, only because a girl never kisses and tells

So for a very easy, quick and healthy evening snack, I ended up making some beautifully cheesy, crusty, laden with toppings garlic bread. I know what you're thinking, 'thats not healthy!' But well, my brain thinks cheese, cheese comes from milk, milk has protein, therefore cheese is healthy. Period. 

Naturally to accompany that gorgeous golden deliciousness I needed a dipping sauce and what better than a time tested Marinara. I mean, come on! Its a match made in heaven, isn't it?! On to it then, shall we? 

Serves: 4

Time taken: 1 hr- 3 hours (you need to let the sauce simmer man) 

Complexity: **

You'll need

3 medium sized tomatoes, finely diced/ pureed 
1 medium red onion, finely chopped ( would have used yellow if it was on hand)
5-6 cloves of garlic finely minced
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning (Oregano, garlic powder, basil, parsley, little salt, little chili) 
1 tsp sugar/ 2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp red chili flakes
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper
Pinch of love


Take a wide pan/ skillet and add your olive oil to it. Even before turning on the heat, add your minced garlic to it. Turn on the heat, and let the garlic saute till golden in colour

Add the onion as soon as the garlic begins to sizzle and is turning golden. Do NOT let the garlic burn, pretty please. 

Saute till the onions start turning golden. Caramelising onions renders a beautiful depth of flavour and a hint of sweetness to the marinara. This sauce is so simple in nature with such few ingredients but its the different layers of flavours that makes it so complex and special. 

So just keep patience and let them onions keep getting coloured on a low heat. This is 7-8 minutes into the caramelising process

Let them turn atleast 3-4 shades darker.... this will take about 12-15 minutes. Keep moving them around so the garlic doesn't burn. 

Add in your choice of herbs now. I added oregano and basil.

Next add in the red chili flakes. Adding the dry herbs now gives them a chance to get sauteed in the oil and infuses the flavour better. 

Saute it all for about 30 seconds or so and then add in pureed/ crushed canned tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium high for about 5 minutes. 

The tomatoes will ooze a lot of moisture. We want most of that to evaporate. See how much moisture there is

After about 5 minutes, keep an eye on it the whole time, the water has almost evaporated

And now we're going to do the opposite. Add about 2/3rd cup of water. The previous step gives the tomatoes a chance to cook out and takes away that raw edge. 

Let it heat for about 2-3 minutes and then puree the entire thing with the help of an immersion blender or a regular blender. Transfer it back to the pan

Add in the black pepper. This is the consistency we want for our sauce. But we need to cook it more. The more it simmers, the better those flavours come out. 

Mix that in and then add Balsamic vinegar (I was making this batch at night and these pictures are taken in the fluorescent light of the kitchen. The colour of the sauce is bit off especially here. It should be a reddish- orange at this time). The balsamic vinegar just adds a sweet depth and plays so well with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes. You won't be able to taste it in the final dish, but you'll have people wondering about that mystery ingredient that makes your marinara oh-so-special. 

Add in 1/3 cup of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let this simmer for about an hour to hour and a half at the least. The more this sauce simmers, the richer the flavour. Keep checking in between and if you think the water has reduced too much, keep adding a couple tbsp at a time. This is how my sauce looked after about 1.5 hours

Sprinkle in your pinch of love. Add in the salt and taste for seasoning. Perfect, right?! 

Serve with an additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with fresh basil leaves. 

(This photo is from a batch I had made previously, I use the recipe time and again and it makes for the best pizza sauce ever!) 

Use this sauce as your pizza base, as your pasta sauce... Add a couple tbsp to your mayo and make your sandwiches fancier, your salads richer...the possibilities are endless! Indulge! 

(Recipe to Garlic Bread here


  1. what if i want to store this one? how long will it go on for ?

    1. Hey! This sauce keeps good in the fridge for upto 4 days and for longer periods like 1-2 months, store in an air-tight container and top it off with olive oil. Should be good to go! :)


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