A Sicillian marinara sauce recipe is the epitome of the saying that less is more. Crushed tomatoes, garlic and basil combine for a sauce that is delicious on spaghetti or in lasagna.
This week’s Sunday Supper is all about sauce! I have been on a hunt for a good homemade marinara sauce for what seems like forever. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried almost every recipe variation you can find on the internet and nothing turned out the way I wanted it to. And then one day it occurred to me to ask an Italian mama to help me learn how to make “sauce” and she did! It tuns out that I was probably overdoing it and adding too much to what should be a very simple recipe.
This is a Sicillian marinara sauce because recipe it basically only uses tomatoes, garlic and basil. Sicillians only add oregano if you want to turn the sauce in to pizza sauce. I generally start the sauce in the morning and let it simmer until lunch. This is definitely one dish that gets better with time so make it a day ahead or even freeze it for later.
Serve the sauce with a side of garlic pull apart bread and a tossed salad with Italian dressing for a family meal. This marinara sauce recipe freezes well so make a big pot and save some for later.
Sicillian Marinara Sauce Recipe
- 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 cans tomato paste
- 1 head of garlic, finely diced
- Olive oil
- Pinch of hot pepper flakes
- 1-2 Tablespoons sugar
- Dried or fresh basil
- Cover the bottom of a very large pot with a thin layer of olive oil. Heat over medium heat.
- Open all the cans of tomatoes.
- When oil is warmed, add garlic and saute for just a few minutes. Be careful NOT to burn it!
- Add all tomatoes. Fill each empty can of tomatoes with water and add to the pot. You will add 4 total - 2 from the crushed tomatoes and 2 from the paste.
- Raise heat to high.
- Add in hot pepper flakes, sugar and dried basil to taste. If using fresh, add at the very end of the cooking time.
- Bring sauce to a boil and then turn down heat. Simmer uncovered for at least 4 hours. Add water if the sauce gets too thick while simmering.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper crew’s sauce recipes!
- Port Wine and Fig Sauce from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Jalepeno Cranberry Sauce from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Homemade Steak Sauce from Juanita’s Cocina
- Tomato Kasundi from What Smells So Good?
- Homemade Tartar Sauce from The Foodie Army Wife
- Creamy Dairyfree Mushroom Sauce from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce from Curious Cuisiniere
- Red Wine Sauce | Molho de Vinho Tinto from Family Foodie
- Guava BBQ Sauce from Basic N Delicious
Pasta Sauces and Pastas with Sauce
- Chardonnay Seafood Sauce (with Linguine) from Country Girl in the Village
- Italian-Style Tomato Sauce from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Homemade Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from Momma’s Meals
- Sicilian Marinara Sauce from Growing Up Gabel
- Basil Pesto from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Angel Hair Pasta with Neapolitan Sauce from Cookin’ Mimi
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Lentil Marinara Pasta Sauce from Alida’s Kitchen
- Lamb Ragout from Maroc Mama
- Black Walnut Kale Pesto with Zucchini Spaghetti from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Amatriciana Sauce from The Weekend Gourmet
Entreés with Sauces
- Chicken Tikka Masala from I Run For Wine
- Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Garlic Mushrooms In Red Wine Sauce from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue Baked Wings from Chocolate Moosey
- Salmon with Homemade Caper Onion Mayonnaise from Food Lust People Love
- Chicken with Mushroom Demi-Glace from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Philly Strip Steaks with Provolone Sauce and Caramelized Onions from The Texan New Yorker
- Sweet & Sour Garlic Chicken Wings from Big Bear’s Wife
- Banana Pudding Sauce from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Raspberry Red Wine Sauce from Treats & Trinkets
- Pumpkin Applesauce from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Sauce from Daily Dish Recipes
- Slow Cooker Applesauce from Citronlimette
- Apple Cider Caramel Sauce from The Messy Baker
- Port Wine Cranberry Sauce from Webicurean
- Pumpkin Caramel Sauce from Noshing With The Nolands
Desserts with Sauces
- Sticky Toffee Pudding w/ Toffee Sauce from girlichef
- Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce (over Chocolate Rosemary Cake) from Gotta Get Baked
- Pear Tatin with Rum Caramel Sauce from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Bananas Foster from MidLife Road Trip
- Baked Espresso Berry Pudding from The Urban Mrs
- Caramel Apple Sheet Cake from Pies and Plots
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → >Sunday Supper Movement.
Dale Kopchick says
My (your) new Sunday Sauce is wonderful! Thanks again for your recipe update. BTW, I know that Sunday Sauce is typically loafed with sausage, pork and beef. Don’t care, your Sicilian is my new special sauce.
Dale Kopchick says
Make that “loaded”, not “loafed”.
Question regarding your Sicilian marinara sauce recipe. The instructions say to simmer the sauce for four hours but they do not say if the pot should be covered, uncovered or partially covered. Please inform. I promise to try this recipe and comment. The recipe looks authentically Italian, a real keeper.
Simmer it uncovered. You can add water (or wine!) as needed if it gets too thick, but I generally let it boil down.
Dale Kopchick says
Thank you for responding and updating the recipe.
Tomorrow is Sunday. Although this is not a Sunday sauce, I will make it tomorrow and I suspect it will become MY Sunday sauce.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Thank you so much for all the great recipes. I do have a question about the garlic. It says to use the whole head. Will this have a distinct garlic taste if I add the whole head?
Thank You so much!
Yes, it is very strong! You can decrease the amount of the garlic to your preference.
I’m loving all the delicious and simple pasta sauces this week! Your marinara sounds wonderful.
This is such a simple, perfect marinara sauce. And it would be wonderful with that garlic pull apart bread you suggest…yum!
Oh yes, this is the perfect marinara sauce 🙂 – Yum!!!!!
Nothing better than a good marinara sauce and I think you nailed it!!! So simple but you need the right ratio!
Sarah Reid, RHNC ( says
This sounds exactly like something my stepbrother would love… he adores spicy food
It’s also a Sicilian sauce because there’s sugar in it. That’s how my mom always said you can spot a Sicilian. Always listen to those Italian mamas; they know their stuff. 😉
Just want to dig right into that pasta! I’ve started making my own pasta sauce and I love this recipe as well!
Family Foodie says
I am a firm believer of less is more. Your marinara sauce sounds delicious and full of flavor! It would be great on pasta and homemade pizzas!
So simple and yummy! My family would adore this pasta topper!
DB-The Foodie Stuntman says
I wish I had an Italian mama to refer to. And yes, my experience with Italian food confirms your suspicions of less is more. Your marinara looks delicious. Thank you for participating this week.
I am all for simple and easy sauce recipes! I think simpler is better!
Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen ( says
I love the simplicity of this sauce. Just let those lovely flavors sing!!
One of my favorite sauces! It looks delicious!
I love how easy this looks…..easy and delicious!! Thanks for sharing! Happy Sunday!
Yum!1 Your marinara sauce looks delish!!!!!!!!!
Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) says
Yes…simple is best! My pasta sauce this week has 7 ingredients and is so full of flavor. Doesn’t the house smell great when a good pasta sauce is simmering? Saving this one…
You know, I have never made a marinara sauce the same way twice. I am so looking forward to trying your version!
Simple is best when it comes to tomato sauce in my book. This is a prefect sauce. Fresh, simple, perfect ingredients. Yum!!
So often less is more. I need to get better at remembering that, Camille. Thanks for the reminder and this beautiful sauce.
Do the garlic have to be diced or could I just use a garlic press for the garlic.
I use my garlic press! I love that thing!
Hi Camille, nice to meet you. I enjoyed cooking from your blog. It worked out so well with me needing a marinara sauce and you supplying it. It was easy and good to eat. It was a pleasure making and eating it.