Balsamic Marinara Sauce

(Note: What in English is referred to as "marinara sauce" is referred to generally in italian as "sugo Napoli"; if you ask for pasta alla marinara, you'll get seafood pasta.)

This is a recipe I learned a few years ago while living in Germany. It's great with a glass of red wine and some good bread.


2 - 3 large white onions
1 bottle Modena balsamic vinegar
Fresh leaf oregano
Fresh basil
1 bottle good red wine (optional)
Tomato purée / tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil


1. Finely chop the onions and garlic together. A food processor often does a good job for this.

2. Pour some olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a saucepot or frying pan, together with a little oregano and basil, and bring it to a simmer.

3. Once the oil and vinegar are sizzling melodically, pour the chopped onions and garlic into the pot, adding some oil and vinegar to accomodate the amount of onions and garlic.

4. Once the onions and garlic have softened up considerably (NB: This may not take too long depending on how finely chopped they are!), begin pouring in the tomato paste or purée. If you use tomato paste, add water to soften up and liquefy the tomato paste. Add in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, and basil to taste.

5. Turn the burner down to LOW. Stir thoroughly, adding water, etc. as needed. The sauce should be ready to serve within approximately 10 min.

Another sauce recipe

This one's become somewhat of a tradition in my family. It's apparently an old Italian Jewish recipe. This one takes longer and tends to be more complicated. It's worth the wait.


Diced tomatoes in tomato purée
Tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Chop up all the vegetables finely.

2. Pour some olive oil into a large saucepot, and bring it to a simmer.

3. Once it is simmering, pour everything but the garlic into the olive oil and allow it to simmer, stirring periodically, until it has softened up.

4. Once everything is soft, pour in the diced tomatoes in purée, stirring to ensure that it is well-distributed.

5. Crush the garlic (amount dictated by individual taste), and mix it into the pot.

6. Pour in the tomato paste along with enough water to allow it to assimilate.

7. Stir everything, keeping the burner on HIGH until the sauce begins to boil.

8. Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to LOW, and allow it to simmer for approximately one hour.

9. Continue stirring, from the bottom, to make sure that the sauce doesn't burn, and to make sure everything is mixed and cooked evenly. Taste testing is encouraged at this stage.

10. Two options here:
(A) If you like your sauce thick and chunky, it's ready to serve now; or
(B) Pour the sauce through a food mill to strain out the bigger chunks.

Serving suggestions as above.

Other items in Élise's Culinodes

Arrabbiata --=-- Bruschetta --=-- Sugo Napoli al balsamico