Having a go-to tomato sauce recipe is essential for anyone who cooks. There are many ways to make marinara sauce from scratch but this is the best recipe because it's rich, flavorful and versatile because it is marinara sauce with red wine as a base. Whether you use it as a homemade pasta sauce or or spaghetti sauce or even use it as a pizza sauce, it's all the same. Delicious.
If you want to learn how to make spaghetti sauce and don't want to add the red wine we have substitution options you may prefer. But if you do have red wine in your pantry you'll want to try this version first! It does not disappoint!
Marinara sauce with red wine is versatile and can be served with pasta, pizza, lasagna, meatballs, chicken parmigiana, sub sandwiches and much more. I love to keep homemade pasta sauce on hand in the freezer to pair with our favorite pasta on busy nights.
Make it a Meal!
Turn this recipe into a whole meal! It pairs well with:
Dessert:– This needs no introduction!
What is Marinara Sauce?
Marinara is a traditional tomato sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. It can also include wine, capers, olives or sardines. It is widely used in American cuisine and often called spaghetti sauce or pasta sauce.
There are a few different stories about how it originated. The most popular idea is that mariners, returning from the Americas with the newly discovered tomato fruit, created the sauce.
This is not to be confused with spaghetti marinara, a popular dish in Australia, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa, which includes fish.
Uses for Marinara
- Pasta: Spoon marinara onto your favorite pasta noodles. Or use it in a , baked ziti or .
- Meat or seafood: Chicken, or shrimp all taste great with marinara.
- Parmigiana: The classic chicken parmigiana or eggplant parmigiana both have marinara in them.
- Pizza: You can use this recipe as a as well. Add it to a and you won't be sorry!
- Dipping sauce: Dip your or in this tomato sauce as a dipping sauce. YUM.
- Sandwiches: A meatball sub or a chicken parmigiana sub are favorites around here. Keep some marinara on hand so you can whip these up on a weeknight!
- Herbs: Using dried basil and oregano in the sauce and topping with fresh basil, oregano and/or parsley will add so much flavor to your sauce.
- Vegetables: Shallots and garlic are a must in a good marinara sauce.
- Oil + Wine: Use a good olive oil and red wine for your sauce for better results.
- Tomatoes: For this marinara sauce with red wine you'll use canned crushed tomatoes, canned petite diced tomatoes as well as tomato paste.
- Cheese: Parmesan cheese makes a great garnish.
- Make it spicy: Add 1-2 Tbsp of red pepper flakes to your sauce when you add your other dried seasonings. Add more if you like it spicier.
- Make it cheesy: Stir in ½ cup of freshly-grated Parmesan into the sauce.
- Add Capers or Olives: Traditional Italian marinara can include capers or olives.
- Make it creamy: Make it a creamier sauce by adding ½ cup of heavy cream before serving. Heat on medium low to warm.
- Make it smoother: Don't love any tomato chunks? Puree the sauce before serving.
Step 1: Begin the homemade pasta sauce in a large skillet or Dutch oven, sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until shallots have softened and become translucent.
Step 2:Add dried basil and oregano and sauté one minute longer. You will be able to smell the aroma of the herbs.
Step 3: Add red wine to the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a simmer until reduced in half - about 3-4 minutes.
Step 4:Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Step 5: Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and simmer a couple minutes longer to take some of the acidity out of the tomatoes if desired.
Turn the heat down to low and cover until you are ready to serve to keep it hot. Scroll down to get tips for storing or freezing sauce for later.
Frequently Asked Questions
To store this marinara sauce, let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then store it in a sealed jar or other food container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
To store this marinara sauce, let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then store it in a sealed freezer proof jar or other food container (I prefer freezer zip top bags) and freeze for up to 3 months. I lay the zip top bag flat to freeze then stack bags together in the freezer for easy storage. Make sure you label your container with what you are freezing and the date you made it.
Absolutely! Feel free to omit the wine, if you prefer.
There are a few good options for red wine substitutions.
Replace with ¼ cup brewed coffee and ¼ cup stock. This is a bold flavor that will help bring out the richness of the tomatoes.
Replace with ⅛ cup balsamic vinegar and ⅜ cup of tomato juice or stock.
Use ½ cup vegetable or beef stock.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 shallots - thinly sliced (may substitute yellow onion)
- 3-4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ cup red wine - such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 14.5 oz. petite diced tomatoes
- 22 oz. crushed tomatoes
- fresh basil, oregano, and/or parsley for garnish
- parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, saute shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until shallots have softened and become translucent.
- Add dried basil and oregano and saute one minute longer.
- Add red wine to the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a simmer until reduced in half - about 3-4 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and simmer a couple minutes longer to take some of the acidity out of the tomatoes if desired.