Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce – A Family Recipe

Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce – A Family Recipe

My momma is a wonderful cook. She is 100% Italian (her maiden name is Spatafore) and with her own garden our whole life, we always had fresh vegetables and food on our table from our backyard. She is organic to the core and keeps me inspired to serve, shop and eat organic. This is her vegetarian version of homemade marina, spaghetti sauce. I make it for our potlucks and it’s always devoured.

Aside from loving this recipe, this is part of a foodie, Italian cooking challenge with my friend and “Adopted Blogger“, Cailin over at A White Picket Fence. Simultaneously, she has posted her favorite Italian recipe. Check her out and learn more about what we’re doing together to mentor and learn.

Let’s the games begin.

You Will Need:

  • 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes – try Organic Muir Glen)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)
  • 7 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup sugar (key, secret ingredient)
  • Olive Oil
  • OPTIONAL: 1 Tbl. parsley


Pour olive oil into deep, tall pot (cover the pan with thin layer of olive oil) on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced carrot, celery, onion and basil. Add the bay leaf to soak into the ingredients.

Cook and stir for 60 minutes, until vegetables are soft and onions are transparent.

After 60 minutes add tomatoes (juice included) to the vegetables. Add 1/4 cup sugar (this is my favorite part of the ingredients). It makes the sauce. Taste for appropriate sweetness.

Slow simmer for 2+ hours until reduced to half.

I like my sauce a bit chunky and when you use the whole tomatoes, even by simmering it down, it will stay chunky (this is why it’s important to really dice your vegetables). You can always crush or blend for a smoother sauce. I like to mash down the simmered sauce with a large spoon.

Make sure to remove the bay leaf before serving.

Personally, I love my marinara sauce over rigatoni or angel hair. Shave fresh parmigiana reggiano and voila, molto bene!

*Note: Last weekend when I made this sauce for my friends at Potluck Sunday, I was so hungry, I forgot to take the final photo of the finished sauce. Excuse my hunger and love for food – I will be adding a final photo when I make it again.