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Yes, I know that Marinara sauce is useful for more than just slathering on a pizza but I am trying to tie together some threads here so bear with me. We’ll get to the many ways one can use marinara sauce later. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that kind of stuff. Back to the topic at hand: Marinara sauce. When all is said and done, this is a fairly easy, though labor intensive, thing to make. Roasting the garlic makes for a little extra work, a little extra mess, and a lot of flavor.

Because this recipe calls for discarding the seeds and juicy bits of the tomato, it specifies using Roma (AKA plum) tomatoes. If you want, you could use San Marzanno tomatoes in which case substitute 4 28 oz cans of tomatoes for the fresh ones. You still have to deseed them though so there’s not really any efficiency there. All you would really gain is the ability to say that you made your sauce with tomatoes from Italy.


  • Big pot (I use an 8qt stock pot)
  • Muffin tin
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • Paring knife
  • Storage units for freezing. You’ll need about 4-6 pints
  • Long handled wooden spoon
  • Long handled ladle
  • Food processor/blender


  • 6 lbs Roma tomatoes chopped rough with seeds and cores removed
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 onions
  • 4 heads (The whole things, not just the little cloves) of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup dry red wine


  • Prep – About 30 minutes (you could do it in 20 but the last time I hurried the process I cut off the tip of my finger and it sucked a lot)
  • Cooking – an hour or so.

Serves: Makes about 5 pints of marinara sauce.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450º
  2. Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic
  3. Put a piece of foil in each of 4 of the holes in the muffin tin
  4. Push a head of garlic into each piece of foil
  5. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each head of garlic
  6. Put in the oven for 15 minutes
  7. While the garlic is roasting, finely chop the 4 onions and seed, core, and chop the tomatoes. I cut them into 8 pieces. You can cut them smaller if you want. You may have to stop in the middle of cutting the tomatoes to take the garlic out of the oven.
  8. When the garlic is done, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool
  9. Put the pot on a burner over medium heat (this is 6 or 7 on my stove) and let it heat up for a minute or two (this will be affected by how heavy a pot you are using and how hot your burner is)
  10. Put the remaining oil in the pot (3-4 tablespoons)
  11. Dump the onions in the pot and cook until soft, about 4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so
  12. When the onions are softened, open the foil on the garlic. You should be able to squeeze the garlic out of the heads. It should look kind of like almost burned butter.
  13. After giving the garlic/onion mix a good stir, add the tomatoes, give the whole mix another good stir, then lower the heat
  14. If you are using dried herbs in spite of what the ingredients list says, add them now.
  15. Keep the heat up and stir every 30 seconds or so until the mixture starts becoming predominantly liquid (this is the tomatoes breaking down), probably 10-15 minutes
  16. When the mixture starts boiling, add the wine, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it go for around 30 minutes, maybe a little more, stirring every 3-5 minutes or so.
  17. When the tomatoes have kind of fallen apart (the skins start separating from the meat), add in the fresh herbs and stir. If you’re using dried herbs then shame on you. You should also taste the sauce at this point and add salt and pepper to taste.
  18. Let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  19. Remove from the heat and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  20. Run half of the sauce through the food processor or blender.
  21. Run the other half of the sauce through the food processor or blender. If you have a big ass blender/food processor, you can try doing it all in one batch but know that the price of failure is being covered in either (best case scenario) tomato sauce that stains all of your clothes, or (worst case scenario) tomato sauce that stains all of your clothes and burns you.
  22. Transfer the sauce to your storage vessels of choice. I usually go with about 6 half cup units and 3 pint units. A half cup of sauce is about what you need for a pizza.

Quick note: At the top is a small video idea I’ve been messing around with. Please feel free to leave your impression in the comments.

The song is Bye Bye by Alana Davis who is grossly underrated and has gone far too long without producing another album.