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Midnight Marinara Sauce Recipe

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

cooking homegrown tomatoes Phoenix Kitchen Gardens
Making my Midnight Marinara

Midnight Marinara is named for the beautiful Midnight Roma's I grew from seeds I bought from Row 7 Seed Company. This variety was developed by Jim Myers, seed breeder and professor at OSU College of Agricultural Science. The flavor is absolutely delicious when the tomatoes are cooked at their peak.

Myers recommends making this sauce with the Midnight Roma skin left on to preserve antioxidants. We’ve made this lovely rustic marinara sauce several times with the skins left in the sauce and it was wonderful! But if you prefer a smoother consistency, after cooking for 30 minutes add the sauce to a food processor and then press through a sieve.

This Midnight Marinara isn’t just for pasta, although that’s often its destination in my kitchen. You can also use this basic sauce for pasta casseroles like lasagna, to use on homemade pizza, or to serve with roasted meat. You can even give it a quick purée and make a pretty darn good bowl of tomato soup!


1 tablespoon olive oil


1 small yellow onion, finely diced

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 celery stock, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

midnight roma tomatoes, phoenix kitchen gardens
Midnight Roma's, sliced and ready to make a sauce


3lbs Midnight Roma tomatoes ( or other high quality paste tomato)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Fresh thyme, basil, oregano, or other herbs

Parmesan cheese, to garnish, optional


  • To make the Sofrito, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

  • Sauté yellow onion and carrots until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • Quarter the tomatoes and add to the pan, along with their juices. Crush the tomatoes in your hand as you add them, or smash them against the sides of the pan with your spatula.

  • Optional step: After the tomatoes have cooked 30 minutes you can add them to the food processor or blender, then run through a sieve to remove the skins. When finished, return the sauce to continue cooking with the aromatics.

  • Add fresh herbs like thyme and oregano. Add salt to taste. And if you're adding basil, wait to add it until the end of cooking.

  • Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.

  • Serve the sauce immediately over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Dress it up! You can elevate this simple sauce with a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar, throw a few more veggies in with the onions, or cook up some ground beef or mushrooms for a more substantive sauce.

To learn more about Row 7 Seed Company, click HERE.

And for more recipes and low desert garden tips, don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

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