Marinara sauce

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Marinara sauce
Ravioli Marinara.jpg
A plate of ravioli alla marinara
Course Main course
Place of origin Italy
United States
Serving temperature Hot over pasta
Main ingredients Tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil
Variations Olives, capers
Cookbook: Marinara sauce  Media: Marinara sauce

Marinara (English: "mariner's") sauce is an Italian tomato sauce, usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions.[1][2] Its many variations can include the addition of capers, olives, spices, and a dash of wine.[3][4]

This sauce is widely used in Italian-American cuisine, which has diverged from its Old World origins.[5]

Italians refer to marinara sauce only in association with other recipes. For instance, spaghetti alla marinara literally translates to "spaghetti mariner's style" (from the adjective marinara with the feminine suffix -a pertaining to salsa, Italian for "sauce", and also to maniera, Italian for "style"), but tomato sauce alone in Italy is called sugo/salsa al/di pomodoro or pummarola (the latter being Neapolitan language).

This is not to be confused with spaghetti marinara, a popular dish in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa where a tomato-based sauce is mixed with fresh seafood.[6]


Several folk theories exist as to the origin of this sauce: One version states that cooks aboard Neapolitan ships returning from the Americas invented marinara sauce in the mid-16th century after Spaniards introduced the tomato (a central Mexican "New World" fruit) to Europe. Another theory states this was a sauce prepared by the wives of Neapolitan sailors upon their return from sea.[7]

Historically, however, the first Italian cookbook to include tomato sauce,[8] Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward), was written by Italian chef Antonio Latini and was published in two volumes in 1692 and 1694. Latini served as the Steward of the First Minister to the Spanish Viceroy of Naples.[8][9][10] This early tomato sauce was more like a modern tomato salsa.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of marinara sauce on the Oxford Dictionary website". Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  2. ^ "Definition of marinara sauce on the Your Dictionary website". 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  3. ^ "Giada Delaurentis' recipe for marinara sauce". Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  4. ^ Mario Batali (2007-10-05). "Mario Batali's recipe for marinara sauce on the Serious Eats website". Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Ten "Italian" Foods You Won't Find in Italy". 4 March 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2018. 
  6. ^ "Recipe for Marinara from an Australian website". Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Info on the origin of marinara sauce on the Italian Chef website". 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  8. ^ a b Elizabeth David, Italian Food (1954, 1999), p 319, and John Dickie, Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food, 2008, p. 162.
  9. ^ Alan Davidson, "Europeans' Wary Encounter with Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Other New World Foods" in Chilies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World, (University of Arizona Press) 1992.
  10. ^ Origins of Italian tomato sauce Retrieved 23 April 2011

External links[edit]