Saturday 17 March 2018

This super simple Marinara sauce is a fantastic alternative to supermarket jars

Marinara sauce. Photo: Mark Duggan
Marinara sauce. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

This week I'm sharing one of our regular tomato sauces, a simple Marinara.

The secret to a great Marinara is a generosity in spirit when it comes to garlic, and a good splash of white wine cooked off in the sauce. In the summer months, making this sauce with fresh tomatoes would make it even more delicious but just get the best quality of everything you can for this, from the spaghetti to the tinned tomatoes. It's simple, speedy, stress-free yet still delicious.

Simple Marinara Sauce

Serves 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


Olive oil

1 small onion

5 cloves of garlic

A splash of white wine

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Salt and pepper

150g of spaghetti

Handful of fresh parsley and basil, finely chopped

Handful of finely grated Parmesan


1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Peel and finely dice the onion and the garlic cloves. Add to the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent, being careful not to burn either the onions or the garlic. You could also add some bacon lardons or a few cubes of good quality chorizo here for a boost of smokey flavour if you like.

2. Add splash of white wine (about 75ml is what you're looking for) to the onions and bring to a simmer, increasing the heat a little if you have to. Cook until the wine has pretty much evaporated. That will take another five minutes or so.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Let it bubble away gently for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

4. When the sauce is almost done, cook your spaghetti according to the packet's instructions. My method is to bring a pan of water to the boil. I add a good pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil to the water before I add the spaghetti. Once the water has returned to the boil, the spaghetti usually takes about 9 minutes but do check the packet for further instructions. Drain the pasta and mix the spaghetti with the sauce.

5. Serve the pasta with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley and basil, and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Tinned tomatoes: While we wait out the winter, it's essential to have a good stock of high-quality tinned tomatoes in your store cupboard. Like anything, tinned tomatoes can vary massively from tin to tin. Personally, I find the De Cecco brand really reliable and I also recommend Bunalun Organic tinned tomatoes for great flavour.

Irish Independent

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