Classic Marinara Sauce

Super fast, but incredibly delicious marinara sauce for pizza or pasta!


  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • 1 small dried whole chili, or a small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large fresh sprig of basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


  • Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup of water into can and slosh it around to get the rest of the tomato juices. Reserve.
  • In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot), heat oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic.
  • Let the garlic heat through and as soon as it starts to sizzle (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes and the reserved water. Add the whole chili or red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt. Stir.
  • Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt on top of the tomato sauce, then submerge it in the sauce.
  • Simmer sauce until thickened and the oil on top is a deep orange, about 20 minutes (longer if you want it thicker). Taste the sauce after 10 minutes and add more salt and/or oregano as needed.
  • Discard the basil and chili pepper before using the sauce.

This makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce

Thanks to the New York Times for the recipe!

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