My Marinara Sauce

It’s said that each Italian knows how to make good marinara sauce. It’s learned by watching the elders, but never participating in the act. They cook for YOU, they don’t teach. A young Italian needs to think ahead, knowing that at some point, he or she will need to hone his or her own recipe. Only this Italian will teach the next generation.

The finished product, beautiful, sweet, red marinara sauce.
The finished product, beautiful, sweet, red marinara sauce.

Please note, that this is just a suggestion. Try it out, but don’t be afraid to make it your own, to add or subtract the next time.

BTW, this is the perfect sauce for my mother’s baked ziti.

What You’ll Need

  1. A large Dutch oven.
  2. A sharp knife.
  3. 1 large bowl.
  4. Your hands.
  5. 1 measuring cup.
  6. Cutting board.
  7. A wooden spoon, of course.


  1. Enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. 5 or 6 cloves of thinly sliced garlic.
  3. 1 can of whole San Marzano tomatoes. Make sure they are DOP-Certified. The Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta denotes a specific region in Italy with rich volcanic soil and a specific tomato strain.
  4. A nice handful of fresh basil.
  5. 1/2 of a teaspoon of Italian seasoning or crushed oregano.
  6. 1 cup of water.
  7. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  8. 1 pinch of dried pepper flakes.
  9. 1 pinch of sugar.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.



  1. Take off any rings or dangling bracelets, wash your hands well and then get’em dirty. Pour tomatoes into large bowl and crush with your hands.
  2. Pour 1 cup water into can, making sure to clean the can and get all the tomato juices in there. Put the bowl aside.
  3. In the dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add garlic. Watch it so that the garlic doesn’t burn!
  4. As soon as garlic is sizzling, add the tomatoes.
  5. Pour 1 cup water into the pot, making sure to clean the can and get all the tomato juices in there.
  6. Stick the basil sprig, stem and all in the sauce.
  7. Add red pepper flakes, oregano or Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir.
  8. Simmer sauce until thickened about 15 minutes. The oil will be floating on the surface and the color will be a deep burnished orangey red.
  9. Taste test and add more oregano or Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, as desired. Stir.
  10. Pull out the basil.

FOUNDER & LEAD CONTENT STRATEGIST This blog is a creative outlet for the love of home design and art, doable DIY, indulging in good eats, and throwing a good party. While I write many of our articles, I’m not the only voice. Interior designers, architects, tradespersons, makers, and good friends with special talents share what they know. I live in a gorgeous 1895 Victorian, No.139, with my husband Gary McDaniel, our three kids, a cranky old cat, and a golden retriver. While only four other families have called this place home, some of them made really bad choices that altered it’s classic design. And there was a cheap flipper in the mix too. Now, we’re cleaning up their messes. My day (and weekend) job as a REALTOR®-Salesperson for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Maplewood, NJ, gives me a unique opportunity to peek inside homes. Whether a it’s a sparkling or still-in-the-rough kind of diamond – all are dream worthy. In 2018, Lisa Danbrot and I co-founded the annual trade show, Resource Home Show.

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