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Balsamic Marinara
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5 from 1 vote

The Best Balsamic Marinara

Canned tomatoes always need something sweet to balance out the acid, so I add sweet white wine and balsamic vinegar for a complex, sugar-free marinara. It is better than your standard pasta sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: balsaic marinara, balsamic, marinara
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
  • 2 tbsp sweet white wine, I like Riesling
  • 1 16 oz. can tomato puree, preferably imported from Italy
  • 1 large bunch basil, left whole
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, aged if possible
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Begin by chopping your onions. Put a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil. Add onions and cook, lowering the heat if onions brown too quickly. We are just looking to sweat the onions, not brown them.
  • Continue cooking the onions, lowering the heat and to allow deep caramelization to happen in the pan. The longer you cook your onions, the more depth the sauce will have. Sauté the onions for a minimum of 20 minutes, preferably 30 minutes.
  • Once the onions have taken on a deeper color and are very soft, add the garlic and dried herbs. Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic is very fragrant.
  • Turn your heat to the lowest setting. Add your wine and allow to simmer and cook down for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Once evaporated, add your tomato puree. Stir to combine.
  • Once the mixture is homogenous, you can lay your basil leaves in. I leave them whole so I can pick out the whole thing later. Add balsamic, salt, and pepper. Bring the heat back up to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until the sauce has deepened in color and has thickened.
  • When done, taste and adjust for seasoning at this stage. Discard the whole, now blackened basil leaves.
  • Serve as a dipping sauce, over zoodles, or put it on pizza.


The sweeter the wine, the less of it you will need. I do not recommend using a fruit wine or anything with added flavors.