Here is a easy recipe for a delicious Mariana sauce.  This sauce goes great on spaghetti, stuffed cannelloni or as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks or baked zucchini fries. 

I love using piment d'espelette in this recipe. It is a ground french chili pepper, the espelette pepper, that is grown in the south west of France near the border with Spain. It is used in traditional basque cooking and has less heat than cayenne or other 'typical' peppers. It has a unique flavour that lends a little something special to this marinara.


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced (or more! ) 
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • piment d'espelette (or cayenne)  
  • 2 28 oz cans of tomatoes, I use one crushed and one diced but it's completely up to you

In a heavy bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaves and cook until onion softens, about 10 - 15 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pot. Once the wine has evaporated drop the heat to medium low and  add the thyme and piment d'espelette. I usually use about 1 tsp which gives it a nice kick without it being overly spicy. Add your 2 cans of tomatoes. Simmer for at least 45 minutes or for as long as possible.