I truly believe that marinara sauce is one of those things you should always have in the house. It is so versatile. You can use it straight up with some wholemeal pasta, throw a few meatballs or prawns in it, or fry up some minced beef and it makes a good bolognaise or lasagne sauce.

If that isn’t enough to tempt you in to making it, you can make a big batch and freeze portions in freezer safe tubs for those mid week meals when time is scarce but you still want something tasty. Fast food without the rubbish. Just get it out and put in the fridge to defrost before you head out to work. This recipe will make 4-6 portions (each portion enough for two), but you can scale it down if you would prefer to not freeze any.

As I sat down to right this post, I started to wonder why marinara sauce is called marinara. I am happy to tell you that according to the internet, it was invented in 16th century Naples by sailors. In fact, marinara loosely translates as “sauce of the sailors”. Cooks on board the ships liked it because it was meat free and the high acidic content meant it didn’t spoil quickly.

Marinara Sauce


  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Onion (finely diced)
  • 6 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 750ml Red Wine (chianti, but any will do)
  • 6 400g tins Plum Tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Celery Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot, and add the onion
2. Sauté onions until soft and translucent, then add the garlic
3. Add the red wine, and simmer until almost all the moisture has disappeared
4. Add in the tomatoes, and using a masher, squash the large tomatoes so they break up some. You don't need to totally puree them as they will break down further in the cooking
5. Add the celery salt, herbs, and balsamic vinegar. Stir through, and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes


You can use the sauce immediately, but I find its flavour is better 24 hours later. Also, with a big batch like this, you can freeze it in portion sizes.

It is a great base to have with meatballs and spaghetti, or for a quick mid-week bolognese.

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