Basic Spaghetti alla Marinara

The husky made me do it. I had no intentions of making sauce, but she forced me. Don’t look at me like that, the dog is perfectly good at arguing!

Before I start, I have a confession to make; I’m not a dog person (say it ain’t so! First cheese, now dogs?) but I do love other people’s dogs and I would consider myself a husky person. Of all the things that make them great, they have some major downfalls: they can drop their own body weight in fur (I jest…) and they make great running partners.

Why is being a great running partner a such a terrible thing? Well, because huskies love to run. They love it. Have you ever seen a husky really run? You should (Click Me!).

Did you see that? That’s was half speed and that’s also what happens if your husky gets loose. You’ve been warned.

Who, me?

Ours went under the fence the other day and scared me half to death. I hopped the fence (in heels and a dress mind you) in about 1 second flat and ran towards the road hoping that I wouldn’t see her. Thankfully, I didn’t.

Instead, she was hiding by my car looking ready to run full kilter towards me. Thinking that she’d juke to the side in typical husky fashion, I prepared myself for a diving tackle.

It wasn’t necessary. She stopped short, plopped herself down and begged to go in the house. This is not normal. Not that I’m complaining. The next thing on our to do list: reinforce the fence. Even though we were lucky this time, there’s no guarantee that we will be next time (and yes, there will be a next time. I left a 3rd drawback off my list: Huskies are furry Houdinis).

So how did this lead to sauce? Well, after Dakota’s little adventure, I was a little shaken up and decided that I needed to cook (read- chop things up). That’s perfectly healthy, right? Thought so.

Hate chopping onions? Try lighting a candle next time.

Since red sauce is probably the first thing I ever learned how to make, I set to it and figured that I could use a basic sauce for pizza later in the week.

I should warn you that at this point, I tend not to measure when I make sauce. I do it all by taste, however, this time I did provide a basic recipe. Shall we start?

Basic Spaghetti alla Marinara
This recipe will cover an entire box of pasta- it will add between 88 to 110 calories per serving of pasta


  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-8 cloves garlic (I use more rather than less)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used crushed, but whole work well)
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste-optional (if you do use it, make sure the paste only contains tomatoes)
  • 1 cup water-optional
  • 2 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1/2 tsp flakey sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Start by coating the bottom of your stock pot with the oil and set over medium heat. Once shimmering, add your onions. Saute until translucent (3-5 minutes). Now add your garlic and saute for another 30 seconds or until fragrant. (I prefer to crush the garlic with the flat side of a large knife. If you choose to do this, be careful).

Once your kitchen smells like oil, garlic and onions (aka- GOOD), add your crushed tomatoes, the paste if you’re using it and 1 cup of water (only if you use the paste). Decrease the heat to medium low and partially cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so as not to burn the bottom.

After the 30 minutes has passed, add your herbs and seasonings and simmer 15-20 minutes longer. Taste test the sauce here and adjust seasonings to your preference. I usually add a lot more basil at this point, but go light on salt. If your tomatoes were salted, you may want to avoid adding more seasonings as it will really alter the flavor, and not in a good way.

Notes: I used crushed tomatoes and paste in this recipe because I’m intending on using the sauce for multiple purposes. This recipe can really serve as a base for more involved pasta sauces, pizza sauces or cacciatores. Have fun with it!

12 thoughts on “Basic Spaghetti alla Marinara

  1. Pingback: Sneaking in Your Greens: Part I | A Cook's Nook

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  4. I hadn’t had spaghetti in so long, opting to blow my daily carbohydrate allotment on cake instead of pasta, but then I started running. Now, I HAVE to carbo load. I mean, how else am I supposed to finish a marathon? I can’t wait to try this recipe after/before my next long run. It sounds delicious!

  5. I love your blog, your pictures are awesome. It made me smile reading about Dakota. We have 2 labs, Belle and Apollo, our house is ALWAYS covered in black fur and Belle was the queen of escaping as a puppy. I love your recipe, I don’t make spaghetti as much as I use to, I think your post has motivated me to make a big pot of Marinara with homemade pasta.

  6. Well here’s a confession: speghetti is my favourite meal. So, I am delighted to see this post. I love your use of frangrant spices and a touch of sea salt. So delicious!

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