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Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

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Marinara Sauce (Three ways)

Special Equipment


Large pot, preferably with a built-in strainer (optional), for blanching tomatoes before peeling (only when making the sauce, using fresh tomatoes)

6-quart, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan with a lid (for fresh tomato sauce): Use a 4-quart saucepan for the Quick Variation and a 3-quart saucepan for the Ultra-Speedy Sauce

For the sauce

  • Five pounds ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, or four 28-ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 cup chopped basil, prepared as needed
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
  • Strip of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1-inch wide by 4 inches long) (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) To peel and seed your tomatoes: Bring large pot of water to a rapid boil and, working in small batches, put some tomatoes into the water and count to ten. Remove them from the water and place in a large bowl. Use your thumbnail or a small paring knife to remove the stem end and cut the tomato in half through the waist. Squeeze the seeds out and coarsely chop the tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, use kitchen scissors to snip them in half and gently squeeze out the seeds. Snip them all into smallish irregular pieces.

2) To assemble the sauce and simmer: Heat a 6-quart nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is bubbling, stir in the flour. Let it bubble for about 15 seconds, then stir in the red pepper flakes, half the minced garlic, 1/2 cup chopped basil and the oregano. When fragrant (about 15 seconds), stir the chopped tomatoes, puree and tomato paste. When combined, push the cheese rind deep into sauce, if using, and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce gently, with the cover ajar, for 35 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, chopped basil and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

A heartier variation of the above
Use a food processor fitted with the steel blade, to finely chop 1 quartered medium yellow onion, 1 trimmed and sliced stalk of celery, 1 peeled and sliced medium carrot and 5 cloves chopped garlic. Increase the butter to 3 tablespoons and, together with the olive oil, gently sweat these vegetables, directly covered with a piece of greased wax paper for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to soften. Discard the paper and stir in the flour, red pepper flakes and half the basil, as directed in the original recipe. Raise the heat to medium and cook for a minute or so, just to fully incorporate everything. Follow the remaining sauce instructions above.

A quick sauce variation
By just changing the type of tomatoes, you can have quicker version of marinara sauce that’s still great tasting. Heat a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half the minced garlic, basil and the red pepper flakes. When fragrant (about 10 seconds), add a 28-ounce can each of tomato puree and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a full simmer through the center, and then add two 28-ounces cans drained canned plum tomatoes, snipped into irregular pieces, using kitchen scissors. Bring back to a full simmer, and then reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce gently for 15 minutes with the cover ajar. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, the remaining garlic and the last dose of basil and simmer 5 minutes more.

An ultra-speedy version
When time feels nonexistent, substitute your favorite prepared marinara sauce for all of the tomatoes. Heat a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half the minced garlic, basil and the red pepper flakes. When fragrant (about 10 seconds), add about eight cups of your favorite prepared tomato or marinara sauce (I use four 15-ounce containers of the refrigerated Buitoni Marinara Sauce). Stir to combine, and then bring to a full bubble through the center. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes with the cover ajar. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, the remaining garlic and the last dose of basil and simmer 5 minutes more.

Timing is Everything
All of the marinara sauce variations can be stored, when cool, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for 3 months.

Watch the Video.

Comments (4)

4 Comments »

  1. […] 5 and 6 quarts Marinara Sauce (preferably with lots of garlic, fresh basil and sautéed […]

    Pingback by My Best Meatballs « Lauren Groveman: Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Life Coaching — June 15, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  2. […] 5 and 6 quarts Marinara sauce (preferably with lots of fresh basil and sautéed […]

    Pingback by A meatball story. « Lauren Groveman: Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Life Coaching — June 18, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  3. […] dough made and rising, I took a container of frozen meatballs that were suspended in a block of marinara sauce out of the freezer to thaw. I went to the market and bought a container of small floating balls […]

    Pingback by Home Alone Food « Lauren Groveman: Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Life Coaching — October 8, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

  4. My husband is not much of a cooking or baking person – leaves this to me. He was flipping thru the channels idly
    on 1/21/2012. He loved the Pizza Party show – he found the show very interesting and easy to follow. Guess what! he wants to try making pizza dough. Thank you Lauren for your educational program

    Comment by Luisa — January 22, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

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