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14 servings


0 hours 10 mins


1 hours 0 mins


1 hours 10 mins

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4 28-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup minced onion

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 Tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Small handful of ripped fresh basil leaves

2 Tsp. dried oregano


1. Drain tomatoes into a large bowl, reserving juices. Crush tomatoes using your hands (be sure to discard that hard end on each tomato.  See photos below)

2. Heat oil over a medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Stir in garlic, and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and reserved juices and season with one teaspoon of salt. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 hour.  During this time, use a big spoon to break up the larger tomato pieces in the sauce.  If you find any of the hard ends missed during the hand crushing, just discard.  You’ll be able to “feel” that they are hard when trying to cut with the spoon.

3. Stir in basil and oregano and season with more salt and pepper (to taste); continue cooking for another minute. Enjoy on your favorite pasta dishes or in any of my recipes calling for a basic marinara sauce.

 NOTES:  This makes a lot of sauce and it freezes beautifully. So, if you aren’t using immediately, freeze in containers and use as needed.

Everyone needs a basic marinara sauce in their recipe arsenal.  This is a great one and relies completely on good tomatoes.  You will always read and see a call for San Marzano tomatoes.  They are pretty delicious but I’ve had great success using the brand I used when living in New York, Red Pack.  I think I was in my 20s and read this article about how all the fabulous pizza spots in NYC relied on this brand to create the perfect pizza sauce.  I’ve used them to make my sauce ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made this with any tomatoes I’ve had on hand and it is always a winner.  But, I have been known to buy a case of Red Pack at Amazon and keep it for my big batch cooking like this sauce.  I believe these tomatoes are an “East Coast thing” since I’ve never seen them on shelves in the grocery store in the Midwest or California. Just use the best tomatoes you can find or like, and this will be a winner every time.

TIPS:  When I need to mince a lot of onion and/or garlic, I’ll use my blender or food processor.  It really gets them chopped fine, draws a lot of juice out of the onion and saves a ton of time.

Getting the tough end of the tomatoes removed from the sauce is key (nobody wants to bite into a hard piece of tomato).  When crushing them with your hands, systematically go from tomato to tomato, removing the tough end and discarding it.  Don’t worry if you miss any.  When the sauce cooks, you’ll be breaking up those tomatoes with a spoon and you’ll feel any remaining hard bits and can discard.  The cooking process will also help break down any missed ends.

Try this one on my Wonton Cheese & Spinach Ravioli


GETTING A JUMP START on healthy eating in 2023

Easy, delicious recipes for every meal of the day. Start creating good habits for the year with healthier recipes packed with fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Lots of great tips for food substitutions too.


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