Slow-Cooked Marinara Sauce [RECIPE]

Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is easy to make, but oh so yummy! (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Now that temperatures have dropped, we start thinking about comfort food. And what’s more robustly flavored and delicious than scrumptious Italian food on a cool autumn night? This marinara sauce is a little different than others we’ve made because it utilizes pancetta (an Italian bacon) to lend a hint of smoke to the flavor profile, which we love. It’s also great to make ahead, stores well, and is super easy to prepare. Best of all it is really versatile and goes wonderfully with everything from spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parmesan to a big dish of homemade lasagna. Yum!

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes


  1. In a large saucepot, heat olive oil, pepper flakes and pancetta over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Pancetta should start to look a little crispy by this point. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. You want the onions to sweat until they get clear and translucent, so stir them often for about 6 to 7 minutes. You’ll really be smelling them at this point! Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  2. Pour the tomatoes into the pot. Rinse out one of the cans and add about half a can (about 2 or 3 cups) of water to the pot. Stir and taste. Add salt as necessary; stir. Tomatoes need lots of salt and this makes a good sized batch. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for three hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce will be nice and thick when you’re done.
  3. You can use the sauce right away or cool it completely and store in air tight containers in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

YIELD: 2 quarts

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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