I love a fresh marinara. The most successful ones are made with a few simple, quality ingredients that don’t overpower the delicate tomato flavor.
San Marzano tomatoes are my go-to canned tomato, and I highly recommend them for this sauce. According to the can, the tomatoes are picked at the peak of ripeness from the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, giving them their sweet and velvety signature flavors. I know what you’re thinking, but no, San Marzano is not sponsoring this post — that’s just how much I love these tomatoes.
After it’s been simmering for 15 minutes and has started to thicken, give it a taste. If it isn’t popping yet, add more salt! Continue to taste and salt until it reaches the desired flavor.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, very finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
- ¼ cup water poured into the San Marzano can
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp kosher salt + more to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sir as needed to avoid burning.
- Crush the tomatoes in your hand as you pour them into the pot. Don’t worry about crushing them too evenly. Having some larger chunks of tomatoes will help build to more complex and varied texture.
- Pour 1/4 cup water into the tomato can. Swish the water around to get all of the tomato juice from the sides. Pour into skillet and stir.
- Add the bay leaf and salt.
- Bring the sauce to a vigorous simmer, then lower the heat to medium but maintain a medium simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 25 or more minutes. Stir as needed.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve the sauce immediately over pasta.
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