Classic Italian Marinara

Classic Italian Marinara
Recipe photo may include foods and ingredients that are not a part of this recipe and not included in the nutrition analysis.
Source: The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection. Recipe Credit: . Photo Credit: Renée Comet.

You can make your own marinara sauce at a fraction of the price of commercially bottled sauces. This sauce relies heavily on garlic, but feel free to temper this assertive flavor if you wish. Either cut back on the amount of garlic or slice the garlic instead of mincing it. The more you chop or mince garlic, the more pungent your final dish will be. Larger pieces of garlic, while still flavorful, will release a more subtle taste. This sauce freezes great. Pour into a heavy zip-locked freezer bag and store for up to 6 months.

  • Prep time
    7 min
  • Cook time
    33 min
  • Servings
    10 Servings
  • Serving size
    1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

10 Servings

  • Serving Size
    1/2 cup
  • Amount per serving Calories 150

  • Total Fat 3.5g
    • Saturated Fat 0.6g
    • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 250mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 25g
    • Dietary Fiber 3g
    • Total Sugars 2g
  • Protein 4g
  • Potassium 130mg
  • Phosphorus 70mg


  • olive oil
    2 tbsp
  • garlic (minced)
    5 clove
  • canned tomatoes (good-quality, preferably packed in its own juice, drained, reserve liquid)
  • fresh basil leaves with stems (sliced, or you may leave whole)
  • whole-wheat shaped pasta (penne, shells, fusilli)
    10 oz
  • Kosher Salt
    1/4 tsp
  • freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 tsp
  • ground red pepper flakes (optional)
    1/4 tsp
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese (freshly grated)
    2 tbsp


  1. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet with a lid over low heat (do not use a deep pot, you want the water to quickly evaporate and the sauce to become thick). Cook the garlic for about 6-7 minutes, but do not brown, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, add the drained tomatoes to a deep bowl. Crush the tomatoes with your hands until coarse. Add the tomatoes and basil to the skillet and simmer for 20-25 minutes until thick. Add some of the reserved liquid from the can of tomatoes, if necessary, if the sauce is too thick.

  3. Meanwhile bring a 3-5-quart pot of lightly salted water (fill the pot 2/3 full) to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir for the first minute. Continue to cook the pasta approximately 7-8 minutes until al dente. Drain, do not rinse.

  4. Add in the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, if using, to the tomato sauce. Add the pasta to the sauce, cover, and let the pasta sit in the sauce for 1-2 minutes. Add the pasta to a warmed bowl and sprinkle with cheese. (The sauce can also be frozen. Freeze in a quart container and store for 3-4 months.)