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!

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Basic Marinara Sauce

Basic Marinara Sauce

Our Basic Marinara Sauce is filled with healthy veggies and slow cooked to perfection.

Preparing meals in advance makes it possible to get a homemade dinner on the table in a matter of minutes. If you love Italian food, you’ll want to start with this staple, a basic marinara sauce that will provide the base for numerous recipes, including spaghetti, lasagna and more.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

TIPS: The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. This full-flavored, robust sauce also freezes well, so consider making a double batch to freeze in 2-cup portions. You can store it in resealable freezer bags for up to three months.

YIELDS: 2 quarts.

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