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Red Wine Pasta Sauce in a bowl
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5 from 14 votes

Red Wine Pasta Sauce

This red wine pasta sauce is an easy twist on a classic Italian marinara, and is made with fresh or canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and wine.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people (½ cup servings)
Calories: 227kcal


  • large heavy skillet (12-inch minimum)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes (diced) or 28oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • Add the oil, onions and salt to a large, shallow pan. (Use a 12" pan or larger, see recipe notes.)
    Cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to brown (~5 min). Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
    Cook the Onions + Garlic
  • Slowly pour half the wine into the pan. Let it come to a simmer, and then add the remaining wine. Continue to simmer the wine for 5 minutes.
    Add the Wine
  • Add the tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
    Add Tomatoes + Herbs
  • Simmer the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
    Taste the sauce and add more chili flakes, salt, or oregano if desired. Simmer 1-2 more minutes if you added more seasoning.
    Serve immediately along with fresh pasta, refrigerate and use within 4-6 days, or freeze and use within a year. 
    Simmer Red Wine Pasta Sauce Until Thickened


Yields: ~2 cups marinara sauce.
Pan Size: Some readers have reported that their 12″ pans were too small for the volume of sauce. You may find a heavy Dutch oven works best for you, although I’ve always had success with my 12″ carbon steel pan.
Smoother Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes are peeled, and will yield a smoother sauce with less texture.  If you’re using fresh tomatoes and want an extra-smooth marinara, you have two options.
1.  Peel the tomatoes first.  Use a knife to mark an X on each tomato, and then blanch them in boiling water until the tomato peel loosens (~15-30 seconds).  Peel, and then proceed with the recipe.  Crush tomatoes with your hands instead of dicing.
2. Blend the sauce.  After cooking, add the sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend the peels into the sauce.
Varieties of tomatoes: For the thickest sauce, use San Marzano tomatoes (or other varieties of Roma tomatoes).  However, this recipe works well with juicy tomatoes as well.


Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1926IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg