People and Food: Homemade Red Sauce Recipe

Look no further for an easy and delicious pasta sauce that you can make in the galley.

October 18, 2018
red sauce
Mariner’s Marinara Lynda Morris Childress

There are few comfort foods we prepare aboard Del Viento, our Fuji 40, that are as inexpensive, widely available and versatile as pasta, in all shapes and sizes. Whether in cold climes or warm, our go-to approach (and our kids’ favorite) is to serve it hot, with red sauce. Sail the world over and it doesn’t get any easier than it is in the United States to find good-tasting red sauce in supermarkets — but sauces sold in cans and jars are often filled with high-fructose corn syrup and other unpalatable ingredients. Farther afield, if you can even find pre-made sauce, it’s expensive. Fortunately, all the ingredients needed to make the best homemade sauce in the world are widely available everywhere. Good-quality canned tomatoes are the foundation of this sauce. The ingredients I use have long shelf lives, so are easy to have on hand during extended passages or periods away from civilization. This recipe is rather simple, and what we prefer, but can be easily modified with the addition of other veggies at hand, such as bell peppers. If you have access to fresh herbs, substitute those! Also, ratios are flexible; try experimenting for changes in taste and consistency. Whatever the outcome, you’ll never go back to Ragu.

Mariner’s Marinara

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, in 1/4-inch dices (about 11/2 cups)
  • 1 medium/large onion, coarsely chopped (about 11/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes (whole, diced or crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

In a sauce pot, saute the carrots in the olive oil on medium-high heat. After two minutes, add the onion, stirring often. When these have browned and softened, add garlic cloves and continue stirring to give everything a chance to sear on the pot bottom. When the garlic cloves show signs of browning, check to be sure carrots are soft. (The carrots and onions should show some charring. If they charred too quickly and are not yet soft, add a couple of tablespoons of water, turn heat down to medium and cover for a few minutes.) When the veggies are done, add canned tomatoes and all herbs and spices. Reduce heat to medium-low. Blend the ingredients in the pot using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a conventional blender, then return to pot). Simmer over low heat, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes to let ingredients blend and flavor the sauce. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind that any parmesan cheese added later will also salt the dish. Serve over your favorite cooked pasta. Yields about 4 cups of hearty marinara sauce.

Preparation: At anchor & underway
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


Cook’s Note: We use a Swiss-made Bamix immersion blender, which does everything a full-size conventional blender would but in a compact form that stows nicely. If you don’t have either an immersion blender or a ­conventional blender, simmer sauce gently over very low heat for about 40 minutes, covered — and serve as is!


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