Marinara Vs Tomato Sauce: 3 Key Differences You Should Know
Image Credit: Unsplash

You may order a variety of pasta dishes from practically any Italian restaurant, and many of them almost certainly come with a tomato-based sauce. After all, the combination of soft proteins like sliced sausage and meatballs with aromatic herbs and spices does a fantastic job of glueing the carb together. But while consuming such fine noodles as Bucatini, Campanelle, and Perciatelli, one can wonder whether they are eating tomato or marinara sauce. And more significantly, how do these two well-liked sauces differ from one another?

When most of us think of tomato sauce, we immediately think of marinara. Marinara is similar to tomato sauce, but it simmers for less than an hour and is thinner, simpler, and cooks considerably faster. To give the sauce its characteristic flavour, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano are added. Marinara can be made with any type of tomato, but paste or plum varieties work best. The flavour of marinara isn’t very complex, making it the ideal sauce for pizza and pasta. Even the store’s label can read ‘pizza sauce’.

Unlike marinara, tomato sauce is rich, complex, and not frequently vegetarian. It is modelled from the traditional French mother sauce known as "Sauce Tomat." The dish's foundation is a roux made of flour and butter, onions, carrots, and salt pork or bacon. Then fresh tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, and veal stock are added. The making of this sauce also requires some time. The flavours can develop and nearly become sweet as it simmers for several hours, thickening along the way.

How do these sauces compare?

1. Ingredients

Herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, and black pepper are usually the only ingredients listed in a marinara sauce recipe. With the inclusion of heartier components like pork or anchovies and vegetables like zucchini, tomato sauce uses many of the same basic elements. Remember that the flavour profile of the sauce can change depending on the type of tomatoes you use, such as plum tomatoes or Italian tomatoes like San Marzano tomatoes.

2. Uses

Tomato sauce is similar to the gravy in flavour and thickness, making it the ideal topping for heavier meat-based foods like biscuits. In contrast, marinara is considerably lighter. Because of its straightforward flavour and runny texture, it is a fantastic addition to pizzas and pasta dishes because it won't overpower the other flavours.

3. Texture

Depending on the recipe, marinara sauce typically cooks on the stovetop for just 30 minutes or less. It is thin and spreadable. This quick sauce is far more fluid than tomato sauce, which is thick and almost creamy. To decrease and enhance its flavour, chefs boil tomato sauce - which frequently includes a base of aromatics and a roux - for a lot longer.