San Marzano Tomato Marinara Sauce Recipe


San Marzano tomatoes are recognized for their fleshier pulp and low seed content. 

The flavor of these tomatoes are preferred to many for Italian cooking due to, what I feel, is their clean full sweet tomato flavor.

Many commercially available tomato products in cans are packed with salt and citric acid.  Citric acid and salt gives a higher tomato flavor perception which, for many American palates is preferred.

True San Marzano tomatoes are only found grown in the soils of the Agro Sarnese Nocerino region of Italy near Mount Vesuvius.  It is that volcanic soil combined with the genetics of the plant that produce this world renowned tomato.

Some tomato product you will find say they are from domestic sources made from San Marzano seed. True San Marzano tomatoes will have the DOP seal. DOP stands for 'Denominazione d'Origine Protetta' . In English, that's 'Denomination of Protected Origin' .

DOP is guaranteed by the European Union and was created to promote the authenticity and genuine characteristics of certain food and agricultural products across the continent.


Marinara (alla marinara ‘sailor-style’) Named so for its ease in preparation by the sailors at sea.  This great sauce is not limited to seafood and you will see it more often used as dips, on pizzas, as well as in pasta dishes.


This Marinara sauce recipe is a great base sauce for all your Italian cooking needs.  Think of it as a mother sauce.

  I will refer to this recipe in future posts.  Different than the Bolognese and Naples style ragu, it has no meat which make it perfect for vegetarian entrees like Eggplant Parmigiana.

Try this recipe simply with pasta and then explore more versions by adding a spoon full of Pesto or cream creating a Sauce Rosa!

So many possibilities once you have this mother of Italian sauces in your cooking repertoire!

San Marzano Tomato Marinara Sauce (print recipe)


2 oz Extra virgin olive oil
2 oz  Garlic cloves, minced
1 oz Fresh basil and Italian Parsley, chopped, divided 2 Tbsp.
Kosher salt and black pepper To taste
Red chili pepper To taste
3kg.(4 each 28 oz cans) Cans San Marzano Tomatoes  , blended

Sugar to adjust acidity if necessary

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat
Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add one tablespoon of fresh basil and Italian parsley with the crushed red pepper
Cook for a minute
Add the blended tomatoes , season to taste with salt and pepper
Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes
Stir with a wooded spoon and skim off impurities as they rise to the top

Adjust acidity with a bit of sugar if desired to balance out the flavor.

Check seasoning and let rest warm till needed or remove, chill and store in the refrigerator.

Try portioning you marinara in small containers and freeze them so you can have a quick sauce when you need it!

Preparing Penne Pasta alla Marinara

Penne Marinara

Cook 2 lbs of your favorite penne pasta (I like penne rigate) al dente and drain it leaving a half cup of water in the pasta pot.  

Return the pasta to the pot and add a liberal amount of marinara sauce to coat the pasta.

Keeping it over high heat continue to cook the pasta with the sauce reducing the water.

When the pasta takes up the remaining water and the marinara is set on the pasta add  1 oz of unsalted sweet butter and mix it into the pasta (this is called mounting with butter) mix till butter is melted and transfer to plates or a serving platter.

I like to top my pasta with fresh chopped Italian parsley as well as a chiffonade (thinly sliced) of fresh basil.

Previous Post

Anna Maries Baked Italian Lemon Chicken (Recipe)

Jan 19
My mother Anna Marie would make Baked Lemon Chicken often. It was a favorite of my brothers and mine. Its even better the next day cold or chilled for a picnic. When I was making this my son Lucas asked me if I was making pizza, the aroma of the herbs filed the house. This is so good you will want to make it again and again!
Next Post

Eggplant Parmesan - Melanzane alla Parmigiana (recipe)

Feb 7
Eggplant Parmesan, when you read or hear it you may perhaps think of a sandwich or a layered lasagna like casserole. The truth is that Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana) is a side dish! I was surprised to find this out seeing that my experience in every Italian restaurant I went to, it was presented as a meatless entree accompanied with pasta.