Italian Cuisine · Light Lunches · Main Meals · Pasta Recipes · Travel

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

Homemade marinara sauce with spaghetti. A delicious dinner recipe served warm with a sprinkling of Parmesan and garnished with basil leaves. Comfort in a bowl! 

marinara sauce recipe

I don’t know why, but it’s taken a little too long to finally get round to sharing my family favourite tomato sauce. This tomato sauce is absolutely perfect to serve and toss into pasta or top pizzas with and it’s also a recipe I’ve been making for many years now. I guarantee, once you’ve tasted this divine sauce you will never reach for a pre-made tomato sauce ever again!

The sauce is rich, sweet and incredibly delicious – this is thanks to the cooking time which allow the flavours to develop and enrich. I think pasta with any kind of sauce is the epitome of comfort food for me. Marinara tossed into the cooked pasta and topped with Parmesan is the best meal and transports me back to summers spent in Italy.

I wanted to share a simple and basic recipe because these types of recipes always great to have in your cooking repertoire. As I said this marinara sauce can be used in mostly any Italian dish. As I mentioned above, I top homemade pizzas with it but you could also replace the pasta and use courgetti (zucchini noodles) and enjoy a low-carb meal. I also love to toss in a few grilled or roasted veggies to the mix. The choices are really endless, this tasty sauce is extremely versatile! If you don’t want to use pasta, just simply dip some good crusty bread into the sauce for a quick and tasty lunch/snack.

(Serves 4)


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 white onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and any other dried herbs you like

A few basil leaves or bay leaves, torn

2 tablespoons tomato purée

Generous couple pinches of sugar

400g (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes or passata

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 can water (roughly 200ml), add more if needed

Salt and black pepper, to taste

To Serve:

400-500g spaghetti (or any other pasta you like – short pasta like fusilli or penne both work well)

Freshly grated Parmesan or other cheese of your choice, to serve

Fresh basil leaves


1. Gently heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté the diced onion and garlic until soft – about 4-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

2. Add the tomato purée and cook out for another 1-2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes/passata, sugar lemon juice and the water and bring the sauce up to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to a low heat and simmer for an hour. It should be thick and glossy by the end of the cooking time.

3. To serve, remove the bay leaves. Boil some water and season well with salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, this is usually a couple of minutes less than the packet instructions suggest. Drain the pasta well, reserving a little extra pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Add the tomato sauce and toss together with the cooked spaghetti. Season if it needs and serve up in bowls. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and garnish with basil leaves.

Best eaten warm, but the sauce is also great packed up for lunch the next day. This sauce will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

bowlful pasta

I love serving this pasta with a slice of homemade Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia!



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18 thoughts on “Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

  1. What a nice recipe Jess ! Nothing is more confort and good that a lovely dish of pasta ! Your tomate sauce looks gorgeous, I must to try it ! Bon vacances 😉

  2. Feel honoured that you’ve shared your prized recipe with us, Jessica! Love that, though … you can’t go wrong with tried and tested!
    I also think you can’t go wrong with spaghetti and marinara sauce … mmm, I’ve had a big Sunday lunch today but I could just eat a big bowl of this!

  3. So simple, so tasty. Simplicity is key elements in this lovely dish you prepared so well! I usually make it with even less ingredients (I skip the stock cube). Yum!

  4. I am sorry but when do you add the lemon juice after what point? It seems it is skipped in the description. Thanks.

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