Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce

Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce
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Based on a recipe I found in Rustic Italian Food by Marc Verti and David Joachim. The original called for far more oil and way too much salt; I backed off on these ingredients and added fresh basil to make what I think is a much nicer-tasting sauce.

Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce

Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce


  • 28 oz can whole, peeled, San Marzano tomatoes (we used Cento brand)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil, sliced thin

Abbreviated Instructions

Put all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl.

Crush the tomatoes and mix by hand.

Let the sauce rest for about an hour so the flavors mingle.

Microwave until it is just hot, and serve over pasta.


This recipe has so few ingredients, you really can’t skimp on the quality. You really want this to taste super-fresh, so get the very best tomatoes and olive oil you can, and definitely fresh basil  — if you can’t get it fresh, I’d probably leave out the basil.


Everthing you'll need
Here’s everything you’ll need for this simple but great-tasting sauce.

Check to make sure you have everything you need. There aren’t a lot of ingredients, but you need each one.

All ingredients in a bowl
Just dump all the ingredients into a bowl. We kept them separate for the picture, so you could see that they are all there.

Put all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl. I like to slice the basil into super thin strips, so the flavors mingle well. If you don’t have a microwave, or prefer to use a stove, put everything into a non-reactive saucepan.

Crushing the tomatoes by hand
Crush up the tomatoes. Use your hands. It’s fun! And cooking is a hands-on activity. Leave tomato chunks in different sizes.

Crush the tomatoes and mix by hand. Simple, huh? Leave some big chunks, and some not-so-big chunks. This is a nice rustic sauce.

Completed sauce
Our completed sauce. I normally let the flavors meld for a while and warm it up right before serving.

Let the sauce rest so the flavors mingle for about an hour. I normally just let it sit, covered, on the counter for the hour.

Microwave until it is just hot. You don’t really want to cook this sauce much, just get it hot. In our microwave, we cook it for about 6 minutes, stirring once.

Serve over pasta. What could be simpler? And if you went with great ingredients, you’ll have a great sauce. When you’re scratchin’, easy recipes can make great food!

Worth the trouble?

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