Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you just need a quick dinner made from ingredients that you already have in your pantry. Especially if you’re going to Japan in a few weeks and are absolutely determined to spend as little money as possible until then.

Enter my mom’s quick and easy marinara sauce. It’s delicious over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. And if you’re feeling really frisky, you can add some shrimp to make it even more scrumptious. But I should warn you: your kitchen will most definitely smell like Sea World should you accidentally forget to take the shrimp paper to the dumpster and go to the movies instead.


Anyway. Here’s how it’s done.

First, pour olive oil and thinly sliced garlic into a cold pan and cook over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Burnt garlic = bitter garlic = no friends = a lonely, miserable life. No pressure. Then, add red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds or so to infuse the oil with some spice.

Next, open up a can of chopped San Marzano tomatoes. They’re the best tomatoes to use in sauces and have a richer flavor than regular ones. Trust me. Wink. (You may have noticed that the can pictured above does not say San Marzano. That’s because I’m a greedy daughter and stole these from my mom the last time I was home. In all the haste of my undercover operation, I chose the wrong can. I’m no Jack Bauer. Sue me.)

Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. You may think there’s a lot of oil in there, but you need it to coat the pasta. Adjust the seasoning as necessary and serve over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. And shrimp. But don’t forget to throw away the shrimp paper. Unless you really like Sea World.


  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can San Manzano chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper


  1. Pour oil into cold pan and add garlic
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until garlic has softened
  3. Add chili flakes and cook for additional 30 seconds
  4. Add canned tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper
  5. Stir
  6. Let simmer for 30 minutes to blend flavors
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  8. Enjoy (or not) over spaghetti.



One thought on “Marinara Sauce

  1. This next Tuesday, your assignment is to pick a new dish to make, slash, food blog about.

    (Look how confusing it is when I type “slash” rather than “/”. It looks like a list of verbs gone wrong.)

    Anyway….its your pick this week, and to boost your food posts, I say one of our Tuesday night meals makes it onto your yummy blog.

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