SUGO DI POMODORO – Basic Marinara Sauce

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What could be more classic than pasta served with a basic marinara sauce. This sauce is low in saturated fat and low in calories. Of course it can also be used as a basis for a multitude of variations.

Makes approx 4 cups, enough for 1 1/2 lbs pasta, serving 6-8

  • 4 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 med. onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar or 1 medium carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 C. packed whole basil leaves or a mixture of basil and oregano


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; add the sugar/carrots, onions, and sauté until tender and golden, 8-10 min. Then add the garlic and cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil a couple of times to release its flavor, until it barely colors on both sides. Remove and discard the garlic.

Add the tomatoes, increase the heat slightly, stirring occasionally, cook until the tomatoes have become a mush. Pass the sauce through a food mill set over a bowl. Return the puree to the pot. Tear the basil leaves in to the sauce and add salt and hot red pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer until the sauce has thickened – 5-10 minutes.

If you do not have a food mill, begin the recipe with peeled seeded tomatoes, leaving the sauce chunky.