You’ll make this simple recipe for Red Wine Tomato Sauce over and over again! Simmer it on the stove top for date night, a dinner party or Sunday supper.

Picture this! You. A glass of red wine. A heaping plate of al dente pasta topped with slow simmered red wine pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese. And, a piece of Garlic Bread and green Italian salad on the side. Sounds perfect, right?

a photo of red wine pasta sauce in a skillet

I learned this great sauce recipe in culinary classes, and just knew I had to share it! Truly, this recipe goes beyond your traditional marinara sauce, pairing complex flavors and tons of depth that comes from slow simmering.

In this recipe, ingredients are added to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and red wine, resulting in a red sauce that is decadent and perfect served over your favorite pasta!

Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce - Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Do I Need to Add Meat?

The flavor of this heart marinara sauce is robust and delicious without meat, making it a great option for a Meatless Monday!

But, I did add protein to make it a meat sauce. Why? Because I know that if I don’t, my husband and son will be starving right after dinner.

If you’d like to add protein, you can use ground beef, ground pork sausage, Italian sausage, or meatless crumbles.

Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce

This hearty marinara sauce recipe gets it’s flavor from red wine, onions, garlic, ample herbs and a LONG simmer on the stove! It’s a versatile Sicilian sauce, and can be used for more than just Italian food! Here are some ideas:

My favorite way to enjoy this red sauce? Over the top of these Italian Chicken Cutlets with some melted cheese!

As a bonus, this sauce recipe is the perfect excuse to crack open a bottle of wine (or use leftover red wine)!

Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce

What Type of Wine Should I Use?

Speaking of wine, you’re probably wondering what kind you should use in this recipe.

For this recipe, I would not recommend white wine. Rather, use a dry red! I recommend a cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, or an Italian wine like a chianti.

Recipe Substitutions

Herbs: You can use either dried or fresh herbs in this hearty marinara sauce recipe, and I include the conversions for both in the marinara recipe below.

Generally, you will want to use three times the amount of fresh herbs than dry herbs.

Tomatoes: Also, using good quality canned tomatoes is a must! I use this brand. You can use fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or whole tomatoes in juice (crush with your hands before adding).

If you would like, you can also use fresh tomatoes. You’ll need between 6-7 cups of fresh diced tomatoes.

Please note we do not add tomato paste to this dish, because the tomato mixture will thicken as it simmers.

Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce - Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Red Wine Pasta Sauce Storage

My red wine pasta sauce will store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Also, this sauce freezes beautifully! Make sure to leave a bit of room in the container, as it will expand when it freezes.

It can keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. I love to make a double batch in a large pot, and freeze the extra sauce so you I have sauce for a quick weeknight meal.

Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce

Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Yield: 6 to 8 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

You'll make this simple recipe for Red Wine Tomato Sauce over and over again! Simmer it on the stove top for date night, a dinner party or Sunday supper.



  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried (or 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, dried
  • 1 tablespoon basil, dried (or 3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (can also use pasta water or chicken broth)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • (optional) 1 pound ground beef, pork or Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled


  1. (Optional): If using meat, brown in skillet and drain on paper towel lined plate.
  2. Sauté: In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  4. Add garlic and oregano. Sauté for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring frequently to scrape the bottom of the pan to be sure the garlic does not burn.
  5. Add Italian seasoning, basil, pepper, salt and sauté for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Reduce: Add wine and sugar. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes to reduce.
  7. Simmer: Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and simmer on low heat for at least an hour, until the sauce has reduced down to your desired thickness.
  8. Remove the bay leaves.
  9. Once the sauce reaches your desired thickness, you can add the sauce to a blender, or use an immersion blender if you like your sauce to be smooth. This is a personal thing and completely optional! Do not blend your sauce if you prefer a chunkier sauce.
  10. If using meat, add cooked meat and warm for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serve warm over pasta or zucchini noodles.
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 184Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 37mgSodium 343mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 12g

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Hearty Marinara Sauce - Sicilian Sauce