Pasta with Sweet Marinara

When you’re tapped out from cooking the complicated dishes that come along with the holidays, this simple spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce does the trick. It has five ingredients, takes no time to prep, and fills your home with the savory-sweet smell of simmering tomatoes. Pair it with roasted vegetables (or, heck, microwaved peas & carrots) and you’ve got a comforting, complete meal with minimal effort. This is the only way I make red sauce. Serve with your favorite type of pasta.


  • 1 large can diced San Marzano tomatoes (such as Cento), or any organic brand such as Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 stick butter, preferably unsalted & organic
  • 1 onion, sliced into large chunks (or halved)
  • 1 package (1 lb) pasta of your choice
  • vegetables for roasting or steaming to serve on the side (I like roasted carrots)


Slice onions thickly and saute in a pot over medium-low with the butter, stirring.

Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Cover and lower the heat; simmer on very low for at least half an hour, longer if you have the time and want the flavors to blend. This is a good dish for a Sunday when you have time to let it simmer (stirring occasionally) for an hour while it mushes up and makes your house smell amazing. By simmering this long, the onions have a chance to turn soft and sweet and that’s what really makes the sauce come together.

This recipe easily doubles for a crowd. If you’ve got four or more people to feed, use two onions, two large cans of diced tomatoes, and 1 whole stick of butter.

To roast the carrots, simply slice a few into a baking dish lined with foil, and roast in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes or until they’re browned and tender.

I like to drizzle mine with honey for the last five minutes of bake time so they get a little bit of glaze to them. Make sure you watch them so that they just caramelize but don’t burn.

Ladle the sauce on top of your preferred pasta — here I used rotini, because it holds the chunky sauce well — and serve with a side of veggies.



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