Caramelized Onion Marinara Sauce

November 12, 2011 • Alaska from Scratch, Recipes

Weather: 28 degrees, several inches of new snowfall 
What I’m listening to:
Falling Slowly from the motion picture Once

Marinara Sauce is a staple. This sauce is simple, made from pantry ingredients I always have on hand, but has a flavor boost from the extra step of caramelizing the onions. The onions add that something special when fresh herbs aren’t readily available and tomatoes aren’t in season (which is most of the time here in AK). And it’s not thin or watery like so many homemade sauces; it’s thick and delicious and will provide a hearty family meal.

This marinara will be a perfect accompaniment to your spaghetti and meatballs, chicken or eggplant parmesan, and lasagna. Add some mushrooms and zucchini and make a great vegetarian pasta or exchange the pasta altogether for some spaghetti squash. In this particular meal, I made a simple meat sauce by browning 1lb of Italian sausage, draining, and simmering it in the sauce for 30 minutes, served over al dente spaghetti and a smidge of freshly grated parm.

Caramelized Onion Marinara Sauce

  • 2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1t dried parsley
  • 1t dried basil
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t brown sugar
  • 3T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4c chicken broth
  • For caramelized onions:
  • 1T butter
  • 1/2c onion, chopped
  • pinch salt
  • pinch sugar

Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Melt butter and add onions, salt, and sugar to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden.

Meanwhile, add the other 9 ingredients to a blender. Whirl until smooth.

Add caramelized onions to blender. Whirl until smooth.

Pour sauce into the same pan used for onions. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered (the sauce is thick and will splatter, so don't skip the cover), at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point you can serve it as desired, can it, or freeze it.