Nate’s Pinot Noir Marinara

Marinara is a mother sauce that you can use in all sorts of Italian dishes, from spaghetti to pizza to lasagna to meatball subs, even just for dipping breadsticks. Jon and I make marinara differently. His turns out smoky and rich. Mine is more bright and floral with a slight acidic edge. (I think it’s because of the bay leaf and I put waaay less wine in the sauce.) You can’t make marinara wrong, but sometimes the freshness is nice. You can customize the sauce for the dish as you see fit.

Nate’s Pinot Noir Marinara

  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. dried Mediterranean oregano
  • 1 tbs. fennel seed
  • 1 10-inch sprig rosemary, leaves removed, minced (reserve the stick)
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cup pinot noir red wine
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sweat the onions (cook them until translucent), stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and stir. Add everything else, and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low heat and cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring frequently. The sauce will reduce about halfway.

You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Yields scant 3 pints.