Homemade marinara is HANDS DOWN better than any store bought sauce. We have this basic Italian red sauce atleast once a week. I’ve grown so accustomed to homemade red sauce that I can’t stomach eating jar sauce anymore. There are a few tricks to mastering a good homemade red sauce. But, I’d say the number one tip is to keep it SIMPLE!
There is a common misconception that good Italian sauce, needs to simmer at a low temperature for long a time. WRONG…It’s the opposite. Tomatoes retain their shape, color and flavor when simmered vigorously until the sauce gets thick. Basically, if your sauce starts to look like a dull red color, then your tomatoes will taste dull. Overcooked tomatoes not only lose their vibrant color, but the seeds turn bitter and the fresh taste is… gone. Key tip#2 use a large skillet, not a deep saucepan or pot. The water evaporates more quickly so the tomatoes naturally cook through, as the sauce thickens. Quick and simple. This sauce is definitely one of my comfort foods.
- 1 - 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, reserve liquid (San Marzano Tomatoes are ideal)
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large fresh basil sprig, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms (optional)
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour ⅛ cup of chicken broth into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.
- In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onions and garlic, and the chili pepper, (if using) and remaining ⅛ cup chicken broth, saute over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent , about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, mushrooms (if using) and, reserved tomato broth.
- Add basil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir.
- Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes.