TTENG’s Quick Marinara

I’m sure (without trying to, I promise!) I am about to offend every Italian (or Italian American) who reads this blog.

My aunt Linda is Italian. She makes this amazing marinara that some call “gravy” (though in doing minimal research for this post, I do not believe that the Italians strictly-speaking have a word for “gravy”). I’m guessing it probably takes her multiple days and dozens of dollars to make a single batch–I have no clue, I’ve never asked. But it’s fantastic. It’s the first and arguably only “gravy” I’ve tasted that I’ve actually enjoyed. Prior to what I’m about to talk about (which, honestly, is like comparing the beef you can get at McDonalds to that at McKendricks), I think the last time I ever had marinara was due to my aunt and back in 2009.

Why the long wait? Hold on to your hats.

I am that one person in America who HATES marinara.

Ever wonder why the pizza recipes on this site don’t include sauce? Ever wonder why the pasta dishes have walnuts and olive oil but not tomatoes? Consider this another mystery solved.

Why do I dislike marinara? Let’s forget about the stuff you can buy in a jar (seriously. Forget about it. This is a food blog. We’re not buying pre-made crap in jars.). Most of the sauces I’ve ever had are not only bland, but watery. It’s like taking the mildest salsa you could get at the cheapest Mexican restaurant, removing any traces of lime and (if applicable) jalapeno, adding sugar and maybe some parsley, and remarketing it as “authentic marinara sauce”. It’s absolute crap. And it makes everything around it soggy. The pasta’s going to become mush. So too will the eggplant or chicken parm. Honestly, my opinion of most Italian restaurants can be summed up by the majority in this video:

So now we come to me making marinara. I’ve found myself a buddy in the Big Rock Candy Mountain. It’s great because I enjoy cooking (especially when it’s not for one), but we have basically opposite tastes in food. Among other things, my dinner companion was annoyed that none of my pastas features a sauce–couldn’t I try JUST ONCE making a simple marinara? So here’s what I decided to do. I decided essentially to ignore the request entirely. I roasted veggies the way I would have wanted them on MY pasta and right before dinner was served I threw their half of the batch in a Magic Bullet and called it “sauce”. So again, this is the McDonalds version of something you should get at McKendricks. But, like Mickey D, my version is fast, cheap and addictive. =)



  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh thyme


  1. Preheat your oven to 425*F. Take the tomatoes (I use grape or a similar variety) and cut them into bite-sized, equal-sized pieces.
  2. Mince a few cloves of garlic, and a handful each of thyme and oregano. Sprinkle the tomatoes with that, salt and pepper, and coat the whole thing in olive oil.
  3. Roast for at least 20 minutes, or until the tomato skins have completely puckered.
  4. Prior to serving, blend this mixture. Use as you then would any other marinara.

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