How to Make Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

See how to blanch Roma tomatoes (the secret incredient in our tomato marinara recipe) to make it a cinch to peel them.

This recipe for fresh tomato Marinara sauce captures the garden-picked flavors of Roma tomatoes and basil in a delicious and versatile sauce. Once you taste it, you may never go back to jarred sauce again. Using fresh tomatoes makes all the difference. You'll two pounds of Roma tomatoes. They're great for sauce because they're really needy. The best way to peel them is to blanch them to quickly loosen the skin. Fill a large pot with water and bring into a boil over high heat and cream an ice bath by filling a large bowl with equal parts ice and water. In the meantime, square the bottom of each tomato by making the shallow "x" with a paring knife. When the water begins to boil, immerse the tomatoes in the hot water for about 30 seconds. If nice fresh tomatoes aren't available, you can substitute 2 28 ounce cans of whole peeled Roma tomatoes. Just drain, seed and chop them as you would the fresh. Once the skins begin to peel back from the x or cracks anywhere on the tomatoes, remove and transfer them to the ice bath. The skin should easily peel off with your hand or you can use a paring knife if you need to. Next, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the core from the tomatoes. Squeeze the seeds in the palm of your hand or use a small spoon to scrape them out of the pulp. What you're left with is just the prime part of the tomato, the pulp. Chop the tomatoes, you should have 3 cups. Set them aside for now. Next, peel and finely chop one small onion. You'll need 1/3 cup. Peel and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Finally, use a pair of kitchen shears to [unk] half a cup of fresh basil. You can also use a chef's knife to roughly chop the basil. Now that all the vegetables are prepped and ready to go, you can get cooking. Over medium heat, pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large sauce pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the garlic. Cook them, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and half a cup of dry red wine. If you don't have wine on hand, you can use pomegranate or cranberry juice. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar adds some acidity and depth, but feel free to leave it out. Season the sauce with half a teaspoon of salt, unless you're using canned tomatoes then a quarter teaspoon of salt will do. Now, add half a teaspoon of black pepper. Stir it all together and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the sauce uncovered. Stirring it occasionally until it's slightly thickened about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the basil. Stir it into the sauce to wilt. Adding the basil at the end retains its vibrant flavor. If you like a creamy Marinara, you can add 3 quarters of a cup of whipping cream at this point. A batch of fresh tomato Marinara sauce has endless uses, served over pasta, in Parmesan or Lasagna dishes, and it's also a good starting point of Arrabiata or Puttanesca sauces. You can store the sauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.