Making your own marinara sauce is one of those cooking-isms that sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Marinara sauce is an Italian-American red sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, basil, herbs and onion.
Traditional Italian cuisine utilizes this sauce to complement dishes, while Americans have found use for it as a basic tomato sauce. In Italy, basic tomato sauce is not called marinara, but "salsa al pomodoro" or "pummarola."
Lemon-Basil Marinara Sauce
What You Need:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or 2 pounds whole plum tomatoes)
1/4 cup basil, sliced chiffonade style
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
In an large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 2 more minutes.
If you're using whole tomatoes, put them in a large bowl and crush them with your hands, discarding cores and pulp or seeds whenever possible. Add tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 min. to 1 hour. The sauce will reduce and thicken slightly but shouldn't get too thick. Stir in the basil, lemon zest and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze for up to a month.