Marinara Sauce

I remember when I was about 13 or 14 my aunt Vicki came over and she, my sister, and I made her marinara sauce. I have a vague recollection that we were making it to go on top of a pizza, but the more vibrant memory is that I remember it being so good my sister and I couldn’t stop eating it straight out of the pot.


  • 3 large cans of crushed tomatoes ( I like San Marzano… there is a difference!)
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion; diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic; minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 1 tbsp. herbs de Provence
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh basil (or your frozen basil cubes)
  • salt to taste

In a large sauce pan (I like to use my Le Creuset French Oven because it has nice even heat and I can put it in the oven for all day cooking), place olive oil, red pepper flakes, onion, and garlic over medium heat and sweat until onions begin turning clear. Add in tomatoes, Merlot, sugar, and basil. When adding in the herbs de Provence I like to use a trick my friend Nicole taught me. She takes dried herbs in her hands and rubs them together in her hands as they drop into the dish. This breaks up large pieces and awakens the flavors and aromas of dried herbs.

Mix well and let simmer for 30 minutes. Begin tasting here and add in any additional herbs, or seasonings. If you taste it earlier, the flavors will not have had time to develop and you could be throwing off your sauce.

While the sauce is technically done after 30 minutes, if you want or have the time you can leave on a low simmer for hours to make the flavors even deeper.

I served mine up with pasta and some veggie “meat”balls!

There was enough sauce for a dinner for five, plus a whole jar full left over for another night. You can keep the sauce in a sealed container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.