Sauteed mushrooms infused with tangy balsamic vinegar simmered with tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Serve this mushroom marinara with your favorite pasta for an easy dinner that takes less than an hour start to finish.
While it’s certainly easy to open a jar of store-bought marinara – and I should know because I do it often – there’s something about making a simple one from scratch that just feels, well, homey and special. So, a couple of weeks ago I pulled out some garlic, canned tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms to make a simple mushroom marinara sauce.
As I chopped the mushrooms I remembered Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce which is a three-ingredient miracle that requires exactly zero effort in the chopping department. Instead of laboring over chopped onion, a halved onion goes right in the sauce to simmer. Once the sauce, now infused with onion flavor, is ready the onion is discarded. It is seriously the easiest sauce I’ve ever made so for my mushroom marinara I took a page from her book and skipped the onion and garlic prep, opting instead to just place them in the sauce whole.
The mushrooms do need a quick chop, but it’s worth it after they’ve cooked down in a hot pan. After they’ve released their moisture and before adding the tomatoes, I added a generous splash of balsamic vinegar which makes it easy to scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and it also infuses the mushrooms with a tangy pop of flavor – a flavor combo that’s one of my favorites.
In the end, it’s a sauce that takes less than an hour start to finish with most of that time being of the hands-off variety as the sauce simmers and reduces on the stove. Serve it with your favorite pasta, garnish it with parmesan cheese, and save the store-bought sauce for another night.
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Sauteed mushrooms infused with tangy balsamic vinegar simmered with tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Serve this easy-prep mushroom marinara (inspired by Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce) with your favorite pasta for an easy dinner that takes less than an hour start to finish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook them in the oil, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their moisture (about 10 minutes).
- Add the balsamic to the mushrooms and, as it simmers, scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes and the fire roasted tomatoes and stir to combine. Place the onion and garlic in the sauce. Adjust the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer the sauce for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pan and simmer the sauce for ten minutes. Discard the onion and garlic. Add the basil and stir to combine. At this point, give the sauce a taste and season with more salt, if desired.
If you hate the idea of tossing the onion and garlic there are plenty of good ways to put it to use: Everything You Can Do with the Onion from Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce
- Category: Sauces
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: Generous 1/2 cup of sauce
- Calories: 188
- Sugar: 15.3g
- Sodium: 1392mg
- Fat: 7.7g
- Carbohydrates: 26.5g
- Fiber: 7.4g
- Protein: 4.8g
Keywords: mushroom marinara
Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First published in July 2016.