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Marinara Sauce

Marinara (mariner's) sauce is an Italian red sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs (such as basil), and onion. However, there are many variations. Some of these include the addition of capers, olives and spices.

Traditional Italian cuisine utilizes this sauce to add flavor to pasta, rice, seafood and pizza. In recent years, Americans have found use for it as a dipping sauce for other foods as well.

Italians refer to marinara only in association with other recipes. For instance, spaghetti alla marinara literally translates to mariner's spaghetti. However, tomato sauce is called salsa al pomodoro which includes marinara sauce as well as other tomato-based sauces.

Origin
Cooks aboard Neapolitan ships invented marinara sauce in the mid-1500s after Spaniards introduced the tomato (a New World vegetable) to Europe. This meat-free sauce was easy to make and resisted spoiling due to the high acid content of tomatoes. This made it ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before refrigeration methods were invented.

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