45 minutes
1 small onion, cut into ¾-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon table salt
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon sugar, plus extra as needed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS We wanted to make a bright-tasting all-purpose marinara sauce in the blender using just a few pantry ingredients—a sauce we could make while the pasta water boiled and the pasta cooked for a simple weeknight dinner. First, we addressed the all-important aromatic ingredients that would give our sauce its backbone of flavor, namely onion, garlic, and a hefty dose of tomato paste. Just dumping them raw and unbloomed into the blender led to a wan and lackluster marinara—you may as well open a jar of store-bought sauce if you go that route. Instead, blooming the aromatics in the microwave with olive oil rendered them fragrant and more flavorful. Canned whole tomatoes offered reliable bright flavor and optimum texture. We used the program for chunky soups since we like our marinara with some texture, and then we processed the sauce at the end just a bit to thicken it. This recipe makes enough to sauce 1 pound of pasta.
1. Microwave onion, 1 tablespoon oil, tomato

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