The first thing you’ll notice about this recipe is that it does not call for the pan to be pre-heated. Heating the oil and garlic with the pan (instead of pre-heating the pan) allows a more gentle garlic taste to flavor the oil. You may find three tablespoons of olive oil a lot to use. You can cut down on the olive oil, but it adds flavor as well as a smooth texture to the finished sauce. If flavor is at the forefront of my mind, I always use the full 3 tablespoons. If I’m thinking of my waistline, however, I tend to cut back.
Whether to use crushed or canned diced tomatoes is often just a matter of personal preference. I use crushed tomatoes in a basic marinara. When I want actual chunks of tomato in my sauce, I go for the diced variety, as you’ll see in the subsequent recipes. Using fresh tomatoes is certainly an option, but be sure to use ripe tomatoes. Making a marinara is a great way to use up tomatoes at the end of the season if you have a surplus on hand, and if you properly can or freeze the sauce, you will be able to enjoy them well into winter.