Papa Brown’s Marinara Sauce

Other appropriate names for this sauce are:

  • My Very Favorite Marinara
  • World’s Tastiest Marinara
  • Best Ever Marinara Sauce


And all those titles are 100% accurate. This pasta sauce is the last recipe for pasta sauce you’ll ever need because it’s that easy and that good.

Ben’s dad served his mission in Italy and he brought back with him a love for San Pelligrinos and this recipe. Both have become family favorites (San Pellis are a soda, the most Italian of which, in my opinion, is the blood orange, and they’re really good). In fact, Ben has the same birthday as his dad, and every year Ben requests his birthday dinner to be Papa Brown’s Marinara, mixed with pasta, topped with cheese and baked until melted.


The sauce also holds a little fame because Ben made that pasta bake for me while we were dating…back in the day where he cooked more food for me than I cooked for him. Things have definitely changed…but this recipe stays one of our favorites!


Here’s the recipe!


Papa Brown’s Marinara Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon beef base
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Minced garlic to taste (I usually do 1-2 teaspoons)

Heat oil in a medium sized pot over low-medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. At this point you can add the remaining ingredients to a blender, blend to desired consistency, and pour the mixture into the pot. OR you can put the remaining ingredients directly into the pot and use an immersion blender (wand blender) to reach desired consistency. Slow simmer at least 5 minutes or up to an hour. Five minutes works just fine, but it does get more delicious the longer it’s simmered.

–You can add any meat you want to this recipe. I usually cook the meat first and just use the fat from it to sauté the onions (no need to add olive oil) just don’t blend everything with the meat…because that would be gross.
–Use whatever sweetener you have on hand. I’ve used regular white sugar, coconut sugar and agave and they’ve all worked just fine.
–The cayenne pepper here just adds a little dimension, it doesn’t make it spicy whatsoever. So don’t worry and just trust me on this one:) Conversely, if you want more of a kick, add more cayenne.
–The original recipe is double what I’ve written and it makes quite a bit of sauce. I normally cook the amounts written above since I’m just cooking for me and Ben, but the sauce freezes well, so if you want access to an easy dinner later, double it and freeze half for another meal.
–We love to use this with regular pasta, meatballs, in lasagna, baked with pasta and cheese, and recently I baked the sauce in some spaghetti squash and we loved it.

One thought on “Papa Brown’s Marinara Sauce

  1. I’ll have to add this to my list! I love a good homemade marinara and it sounds like this one’s the best!


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