Easy Italian Marinara Sauce: Today, Tomorrow, Next Week or Whenever

Recently while looking rooting around the freezer for additional ingredients to add to leftover frozen Red Clam Sauce, I realized that I was making life difficult for myself by not preparing a large batch of Italian Marinara Sauce and then freezing the sauce into portioned amounts for use at a later date.

Homemade Italian Red Sauce

Simmering Homemade Marinara

Just as important was the revelation that once the Marinara Sauce had been frozen in portions for use with one pound of pasta, I now have the basis for a wide range of pasta sauces using vegetables, sausage, chicken, seafood, shell fish, meatballs, not to mention all of the possible combinations of those ingredients. What could be simpler then defrosting a pre-measured amount of Marinara sauce and then adding the red Italian sauce to the ingredients that had been sautéed in a sauce pan? Instead of making a sauce for pasta from scratch each time, I now have the right amount of sauce for one pound of pasta and all that I need to do is add the ingredients. Not only are the total possible combinations endless, but the preparation time for any one meal has been dramatically reduced.

All you need is a couple of hours on a weekend, a large pot and one quart Ziploc bags and you are on your way to making enough Marinara sauce for seven meals?


Whole Peeled Garlic

Two Bulbs of Whole Peeled Garlic in a Bowl

  • 6 x 26.46 Ounce / 750 Gram Boxes (6 x 28 Ounce Large Cans) of Pomi Strained Tomatoes (You can use any type of prepared tomatoes; strained, crushed, or diced, but I prefer strained)
  • 2 x Garlic Bulbs (remove the hard bottom from each clove, peel and keep whole)
  • 3/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt (I prefer to use Sea Salt)
  • 1/3 Cup of Grated Italian Cheese
  • 1 Cup of Red Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sambal (A couple of hot chili peppers whole or Red Pepper Flakes also work well)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

Making the Marinara Sauce:

  1. In the large pot heat the Olive Oil and Salt of High and when hot add all of the Whole Garlic Cloves. Stir for about two minutes.

    Garlic, Olive Oil and Sea Salt in a Pot

    Whole Garlic Sauteing in a Pot with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

  2. Add the Sambal / Hot Peppers and stir for about another two minutes or until the garlic is golden brown.

    Garlic, Sambal, Sea Salt and Olive OIl

    Garlic and Sambal Sauteing in a Pot

  3. Then add the Red Wine and allowing the wine to boil off for about two minutes. Pour in all of the strained tomatoes. I always wash out the containers with a little bit of water and add this liquid to the pot.
  4. Add the Grated Italian Cheese and Italian Season and stir the contents of the pot.

    Italian Red Sauce with Grated Cheese being Added

    Homemade Marinara Sauce with Grated Cheese being Added

  5. Once the sauce has come to a boil, drop the temperature of the stove to Low and allow the sauce to simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.

You will know when you have achieved the correct thickness for the sauce. If you have time to simmer the sauce for longer, then do so, but cover the pot to minimize evaporation. If the sauce has had too much evaporation, you can always add a little water. Another good indicator that the Marinara sauce has simmered long enough is that the whole peeled garlic is as soft as butter.

Freezing the Marinara Sauce:

Once you have allowed the sauce to cool, you are now ready to ladle the Italian Marinara Sauce into 1 Quart Ziploc Bags to be frozen and use at a later date. I have found that 5 – 6 ladles of sauce are the perfect amount for one pound of pasta.

Homemade Italian Red Sauce

Large Pot of Homemade Marinara Sauce

  1. The easiest way is to open a one quart Ziploc bag in a small bowl and insert a large mouth funnel.

    Preparing Marinara Sauce to be Frozen

    Preparing Ziploc Bag for Marinara Sauce

  2. Then add six ladles of sauce, remove the air and seal.

    Ziploc Bag Being Filled with Homemade Marinara Sauce

    Ziploc Bag Being Filled with Homemade Marinara Sauce

  3. Once you have finished, you place the bags of sauce in the freezer for use at a later date.

    Perfectly Portioned Bags of Marinara Sauce

    Ziploc Bags Filled with Marina Sauce Ready to be Frozen

Homemade Italian Marinara Sauce is so much better then anything purchased from the store and requires very little effort, time or hard to find ingredients. By making a large pot of sauce and then freezing portions for one pound of pasta, you guarantee yourself a easy to make meals when there is just not that much time, but you are really looking for a home cooked meal made from scratch.




    • cecelia on October 15, 2012 at 9:28 am
    • Reply

    What about canning this in mason jars? I for one don’t have room in my freezer for this plan although I’d love to have spare sauce around.

    • Bill on January 6, 2013 at 10:42 am
    • Reply


    You should be able to can the marinara sauce following the same procedures you would for jams and jellies. The acidic content of the tomatoes combined with the boiling method of canning would create the right environment for a bacteria free canned marinara sauce to be stored at room temperature.


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