Classic Italian Marinara Tomato Sauce

Homemade Simple Italian Tomato Sauce
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What is more classic Italian cooking than a delicious tomato sauce? When most people around the world think of pasta or spaghetti they think if this traditional marinara sauce.

When making my sauce I like to use diced vegetables. For a smooth sauce you can use a food mill or immersion blender to get that thick smooth consistency (or to hide the veggies from your kids). An alternative to using diced vegetables is using a whole carrot, celery and onion cut in half. Simply add it to the tomato sauce and remove before serving. This method adds all the flavor of the vegetables without having to blend.

Most Italian recipes will call for a passata which is preferred if you can find it. What is the difference between tomato passata and tomato purée? A tomato passata is not cooked when canned while most tomato purées are cooked before canning. This gives the passata a fresher taste. In the US it is becoming more common to find passata but historically was nearly impossible to find and required you to make it yourself.

Classic Italian Marinara Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 45 mins Total Time 55 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


A classic Italian marinara sauce made with tomatoes, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and basil. 



  1. Simmer the vegetables

    Finely dice the onion, celery and carrot. 

    Preheat a saucepan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil then add the celery, carrots, onion, salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and carrots cooked. 

  2. Simmer the sauce

    Add the garlic minced to the vegetables and mix. Cook for 30 seconds then add the wine. Stir and cook for 2-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and basil. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. 

  3. Blend the sauce

    If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can blend the sauce using an immersion blender or a food mill. The food mill is the better option as it doesn't break down the vegetables as much. 

    See description for optional steps of using whole vegetables.
  4. Finish Cooking

    After blending cook the sauce for another 10 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and thicken the sauce. 

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