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Non-Traditional My Marinara Sauce

by Lynn Wheeler 12 days ago in recipe

My take on a classic

This is my version of “marinara” sauce. I say it that way as it is not a traditional marinara. I like a lot of mirepoix (a French term for the mixture of carrots, celery, and onion used as a flavor base for cooking, sauces, and braising) as it adds a bit more flavor and texture to the sauce. I also love garlic and herbs so I punch up the amount I use in my sauce. If you don’t like garlic or onions they can be omitted but I will not like you anymore…….LOL

This sauce is perfect over meatballs - see my meatball recipe posted here as well - with pasta of course, as a dip for mozzarella sticks, or just crusty bread.

Try adding a touch of cream and a shot of vodka for a delicious penne a la vodka.

It makes delicious baked pasta as well. Here is an idea for rigatoni with a spicy lamb sauce. I braise leg of lamb in red wine with rosemary, garlic, carrots, celery, onion, beef stock, and a cup or two of this sauce. Slow cook that for 3-4 hours and shred the lamb, strain the sauce and reduce it down to half. Add more of the marinara, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, and toss that with rigatoni that has been cooked to al dente. Mix in chunks of mozzarella and bake it.

I really hope you try this recipe out. It is super versatile and ultimately DELICIOUS! Enjoy!


3 28oz cans whole peeled tomatoes

2 large Spanish onions

3 carrots

2 stalks of celery

15 large garlic cloves

1 bunch fresh basil

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 bunch fresh oregano

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 cups water


Scrub the carrots well with a vegetable brush or peel if you prefer.

Cut the carrots, celery, and onions in about 1/2 - 1 in pieces.

Heat the oil and sauté the vegetables with salt and pepper in a large pot over medium heat for 10-12 minutes to soften.

Transfer the vegetables to a food mill and using the blade with the largest holes mill the vegetables back into the pot they were sautéed in.

Run the tomatoes through the food mill into the pot with the vegetables and cook for another 10-15 minutes to heat through.

Add the water, bring the sauce up to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Chop the herbs - this can be done in the food processor or by hand. Add the chopped herbs and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. You can also add garlic powder here if you like to punch up the garlic flavor.

*If you do not have a food mill you once the vegetables are soft add in the tomatoes and allow everything to heat through then puree with a hand blender or transfer to the pitcher of a blender and process. Then add it back to the pot with the water and finish as listed above.

If you are not using the sauce right away, allow it to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you are going to use it. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. It also freezes very well and will keep in the freezer for several months. I like to make a double batch of this on a lazy Sunday and put it in gallon freezer bags to have on hand whenever I want to make my famous lasagna or a number of other things I use it for.

Lynn Wheeler
Lynn Wheeler
Read next: Easy, Cheating Prawn and Cream Cheese Risotto
Lynn Wheeler

Self taught chef with a over 25 years experience in the restaurant business.

Grew up in rural Ohio & moved to NYC in 1998.

Executive Chef Third & Vine in Jersey City 2014-2017.

Moved to Florida in 2017 and opened Duck Truck Gourmet in 2019.

See all posts by Lynn Wheeler

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