Most sources say that Marinara Sauce is the Italian/American name for a tomato based sauce spiced with garlic, basil, and other Italian spices. It is also the name for an Italian seafood sauce first made by Italian mariners who lived by the sea. The name has become interchangeable with both Italian tomato sauce and meatless spaghetti sauce. Whatever you choose to call it, the sauce is one of the most versatile sauces to have on hand. Although the canned and bottled versions are quite good and definitely convenient, homemade is always better, and the effort called for to make a huge batch of this wonderful sauce is minimal. This recipe for Italian Marinara Sauce Module can be made in several slow cookers to cook unattended (you’ll appreciate the giant batch once it’s in the freezer), or a large soup pot to simmer on the stove, stirring every hour or so; it’s your choice. A food mill is a “must have” in my kitchen because I like to run the finished sauce through it so it is very smooth. If you like chunky sauce or don’t want to take to time for the food mill, simply put the finished sauce in the blender or food processor and process until it’s as smooth as you like. For those with small families, who have limited freezer space, or who would just rather make a smaller batch, I’ve also included a half recipe using smaller cans.
This recipe was adapted from an authentic Italian family recipe which was shared with my sister, Teri, many years ago while she was attending school in New Jersey. Our family refers to the original recipe as “Teri’s Mafia Sauce,” but we all agree that it is absolutely the best, most flavorful, Italian red sauce we’ve ever tasted (Since every Italian family has a recipe that is “the best,” and taste buds vary, you may not think it’s the best; you can of course change it to suit your taste). The original sauce calls for pork bones to be broiled and added, simmered again for several hours, then chilled for a day or two with the bones to absorb the flavor; my version is faster, since most of us don’t have time to let our sauces sit for several days or to get special bones from the butcher. However, I will post a recipe for meat sauce using this module that does include the pork bones, as well as a basic Italian Meat Sauce.
Once your module is completed and in the freezer, you can put together literally dozens (I’m almost to 100 and my family isn’t yet tired of tasting new dishes) of fabulous dishes in a matter of minutes, including everyday favorites such as lasagna, spaghetti, and pizza, as well as other delicious Italian dishes like stromboli, calzone, chicken cacciatore, shrimp marinara, Italian fish with olives, etc. New recipes will be posted on this site periodically, so get your module in the freezer as soon as you can and check this Quick Cooking site at BellaOnline.com often for new postings.
Large Batch – 105 - 150 Servings (1/3 cup each)
Makes 35 cups when put through a food mill; about 50 cups if blended in the blender or food processor.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
3 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
4 cups dry red wine
2 No. 10 cans crushed tomatoes, (106 ounce)
1 No. 10 can diced tomatoes
8 cups water
8 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 6 oz. cans tomato paste
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Smaller Batch - 54 -75 Servings (1/3 cup each)
Makes about 18 cups when put through a food mill; about 25 cups if blended in the blender or food processor.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 1/2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
2 cups dry red wine
1 No. 10 can crushed tomatoes, (106 ounce) or 8 15 ounce cans
8 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
4 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
- In an extra large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil.
- Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are transparent, stirring occasionally.
- Add the red wine and bring to a boil, stirring until it is reduced by half; add the remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Alternately, divide the mixture between several large slow cookers; set to low and let cook 8-10 hours. If the sauce is thin, tilt the lid during the last few hours to evaporate any excess liquid.
- For extra smooth sauce, put the mixture through a food mill into a large pot. Otherwise, blend the sauce until smooth in a food processor.
- Taste for seasoning and package in freezer bags that have been dated and labeled.
Note: Because of the different amounts of sauce called for in recipes, I make packages for the freezer which contain different amounts, i.e., 4 cups, 3 cups, 2 cups, and 1 cup.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 32 Calories from Fat 7
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 20% Protein 12% Carb. 68%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 422 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 17% Calcium 0% Iron 4%