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A fantastic, authentic Marinara Sauce recipe from Boston’s famous North End Italian neighborhood.
Boston’s historic North End neighborhood has a long-standing American heritage, and it is famous for being the home of patriot Paul Revere and other colonial-era American landmarks. But the North End is also sometimes referred to as Boston’s Little Italy, and it is equally famous for its Italian heritage! The neighborhood is home to numerous restaurants serving fantastic, authentic Italian cuisine and it attracts crowds of locals and tourists alike!
This recipe for Marinara Sauce is adapted from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane, one of the North End’s most celebrated cooks! An old friend of mine who came from a large Italian family originally told me about this wonderful cookbook. I knew that I had to buy it for my cookbook collection when she told me that everyone in her family referred to this book as “our family cookbook” because the recipes were so similar to their own Italian grandmother’s recipes. (My husband Jack agrees – this is a great Italian cookbook!)
What is Marinara Sauce?
Marinara Sauce is a quickly-cooked tomato sauce with bright and wonderfully complex flavors! It’s a staple in most Italian-American households, and delicious as a sauce over pasta and meatballs, but it’s also fantastic as as a dipping sauce with fried mozzarella, eggplant fries, or arancini (aka risotto balls).
How do you make Marinara Sauce?
You’ll start by sauteeing onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add canned San Marzano tomatoes that you’ve crushed by hand, along with some finely shredded carrot, fresh chopped basil, chopped fresh mint*, a pinch of red pepper flakes, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
(*Don’t be afraid to add the mint! It adds a very subtle flavor that perfectly complements the tomato and basil, and it really makes this a special marinara sauce!)
We hope you enjoy this authentic taste of Boston’s North End neighborhood in your own home!
You may also like these other Tomato Sauce recipes:
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in December 2012. We’ve made some minor updates.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
3–4 cloves minced garlic (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 28–ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand (just reach in and squeeze the tomatoes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Few grinds of black pepper
Place olive oil, onions and garlic in a cool sauce pan and gradually bring up heat to medium high. (Heating it this way makes the onions very soft.) Once the oil is hot and the onions and garlic are bubbling, cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently.
Add all of the other ingredients. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree until desired consistency. (We like our marinara sauce to be a bit chunky.)
Use as a dipping sauce or over pasta.
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