Mary’s Marinara with Garden Tomatoes


Mary’s Marinara with Garden Tomato

This Merola family recipe was passed down to Mary by her Italian mother and is sure to please your family as well!
Course Main Course, Sauces
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 89 kcal


  • Large stock pot
  • Sharp paring knife
  • Mesh strainer
  • Large stainless bowl with ice water (ice bath)
  • Cutting board
  • Large sauté pan
  • Chef's knife
  • Mixing bowls
  • Immersion blender


  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Pepper diced
  • 1 large White Onion finely diced
  • 6 Garlic Cloves smashed
  • 2 Shallots minced
  • Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 12-15 Roma Style Tomatoes San Marzano or Tiren
  • ½ cup Red Wine
  • 2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 6-8 Basil Leaves chiffonade cut
  • ¼ cup Flat Italian Parsley coarsely chopped
  • Dry Red Pepper Flakes to taste


Directions to prepare fresh tomatoes:

  • In a large stock pot, heat 8 qt of water, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher Salt and bring to a boil.
  • Wipe each tomato clean with a towel and, using a sharp paring knife, make a large X on both ends of every tomato.
  • When the water comes to a boil carefully place all the tomatoes in the stock pot and bring back to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Using a strainer/skimmer, remove tomatoes into the large stainless steel bowl with ice bath and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Peel the skin from each tomato using a paring knife as needed. Discard skin and coarsely chop Tomatoes. Set aside in a bowl and add two teaspoons of Kosher Salt to the mixture. Allow to rest.

Directions for sauce:

  • Use a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the Olive Oil.
  • Add Pepper and sauté until they start to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add Onion and Shallots, continuing to sauté. Reduce to medium low.
  • While this is sautéing, smash the Garlic with ½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt and add to the sauté pan mixture. Continue cooking until all the vegetables are soft and caramelized without burning the garlic.
  • When all the vegetables are soft, add Red Pepper Flakes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat if needed.
  • Squeeze the tomatoes slightly leaving the juice in a bowl and add, without juices, the Tomatoes to the sauté pan. Reserve juice.
  • Fold in fresh boiled Tomato to the vegetable mixture, cover and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until thickened.
  • In a separate smaller sauté pan add the Tomato Juice and reduce to a third of its original amount.
  • Add Wine and Sugar to the Tomato Sauce. Continue to cook on medium. Check to see if the Olive Oil has risen to the top of the sauce. This will let you know that the sauce is ready.
  • If you like a chunky sauce, it is done now. Add reduced tomato juice as needed if the sauce is too thick. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion (hand blender) to create a smooth sauce. Add reduced tomato juice as needed.
  • Add chopped Basil & Parsley. Blend well and cook another 5 minutes.

If serving immediately over pasta, using the Pan Fried Shrimp recipe:

  • Once pasta is cooked, remove directly from cooking pot and place into the pan in which you sautéd the shrimp, which still has the garlic-infused olive oil.  Add ½ cup of the pasta water to that pan to blend the oil, water, and pasta.  Then add 1-2 cups of Mary’s Marinara sauce to the pasta and blend.
  • Using a tong, portion the pasta into individual dishes and top with shrimp.  


When selecting pasta look for 100% semolina.   
Divide any unused sauce into portions and freeze.  Any unused Tomato Juice may be covered and refrigerated/frozen for later use.
Click for Pan Fried Shrimp recipe to top it off nicely.


Calories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 92mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 204IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Marinara, Pasta Sauce, Gravy, Tomatoes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!