|Place of origin||Italy|
|Serving temperature||Hot over pasta or in a pizza|
|Main ingredients||Tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil, oregano|
Marinara ("mariner's") sauce is a tomato sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. It can include the addition of capers, olives, spices, and a dash of wine as possible ingredients in its many variations. This sauce is widely used in Italian-American cuisine, which has diverged from its Old World origins.
In Italy, alla marinara refers to a sauce made with tomatoes, basil, and oregano, but also sometimes olives, capers, and salted anchovies; it is used for spaghetti and vermicelli, but also with meat or fish. This is not to be confused with spaghetti marinara, a popular dish in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and South Africa, in which a tomato-based sauce is mixed with fresh seafood. In Italy, a pasta sauce including seafood is more commonly called alla pescatora.
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 the sea.
Historically, however, the first Italian cookbook to include tomato sauce, 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. This early tomato sauce was more like a modern tomato salsa.
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