What is marinara sauce, you ask?
Call it spaghetti sauce. Or a dip for fried mozzarella cheese sticks, breadsticks, or calzones. It's a sauce for pan-fried cutlets. Or pizza sauce. It's just a spiced, meatless red sauce. Stir in some cooked hamburger to make a meaty spaghetti sauce, or simmer meatballs in it until they're tender. Try it instead of mayonnaise and mustard on a sandwich, on seafood, or over some grilled slabs of zucchini. It's very versatile, and very easy!
Do you want all fresh ingredients, or all pantry ingredients? Take your pick! This is especially delicious if you use fresh garden tomatoes.
If using fresh herbs, you’ll need three times as much, i.e., 3 tsp. (1 Tbsp.) fresh oregano leaves.
14-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, OR 2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce, OR 1 lb. pureed, or peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes
1 (6-8) oz can sliced mushrooms, or 4-8 oz. fresh (optional but adds depth and ‘umami’)
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. each thyme and basil, if you have them
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 1-4 minced garlic cloves)
pepper to taste
Stir everything together, simmer for 15 minutes if you want the flavors to blend well.
You can also add a dash of cayenne, or red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce or whatever else smells good with it. I like to add a few crushed fennel seeds to it because it adds to the aroma. The cafeteria I worked at in college made it that way...