Quick n Dirty Weeknight Marinara

pic of marinara sauce
Marinara Sauce Photo: Francine Mastini


Ever come home exhausted from work and can’t move but you’re  still so darn hungry?

Me too!

On those nights I have a few recipes that involve one zombie and a few cupboard staples. I supply the zombie – namely me.

Marinara sauce requires very little thinking.

It can be started as you get home and then once it’s on the simmer, go kick off your work clothes so that by the time you’ve got your jeans on and a glass of wine poured it’s been simmering for about fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, you can throw your pasta in the boiling water and toss a salad. Right after I do the final salt and pepper taste I will set the table. Really, it’s that simple. From the time you walk in to sitting at table you’re ready in less than thirty minutes. Nothing fancy but who needs fancy? Beats the heck out of ordering a pizza.

Other quick refrigerator re-uses that can go on, under, or to the side of this pasta sauce are:

  • Last night’s sauteed or steamed veggies
  • Ripened cheese and a loaf of bread
  • A can of  hand caught tuna
  • Last night’s leftover chicken

This is a very fresh tomato sauce so do not expect a rich thick sauce. The flavor will be there, just not a deep flavor that has had the benefit of a long slow cook.

Kitchen staples required:

  1. olive oil
  2. canned chopped or ground tomatoes preferably with basil
  3. tomato paste
  4. garlic
  5. dried Italian herbs
  6. a heavy bottomed pot

Francine’s Quick n Dirty Weeknight Marinara Sauce

2-4 servings

1 – 2 tbsp good olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped roughly
1-2 tsp dried Italian Herbs or fresh
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
2-4 tbsp  tomato paste (with or without Italian herbs)
Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Get heavy bottomed saucepan hot before drizzling the olive oil in. Drizzle.
  2. Immediately toss in the garlic and reduce heat to medium high.
  3. When garlic is lightly browned, toss in the dried or fresh herbs to release oils. Only allow this for about thirty seconds
  4. Pour in the can of tomatoes.
  5. Spoon in the tomato paste and stir until incorporated
  6. Let this come to a very light bubble.
  7. Place cover on askew and reduce heat to simmer.
  8. Allow the sauce to simmer for about twenty minutes before tasting and then regulate the salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for another five minutes or more depending upon your preference for done-ness.
  9. Ladle over pasta and sprinkle with your favorite cheese topping.


Try it, it’s good!


Tweets - Francine

Tweets - Jason


Subscribe with iTunes