What Is Marinara Sauce In Australia? A Simple Guide

Marinara sauce – a staple in Italian-American cuisine – is a tomato-based sauce that has been around for centuries. But what exactly is marinara sauce in Australia?

Is it the same as the traditional Italian recipe or has it evolved into something unique?

In this article, we’ll explore the history of marinara sauce and its journey to Australia, as well as the different variations and uses of this versatile sauce.

So grab a plate of spaghetti and get ready to dive into the world of marinara sauce!

What Is Marinara Sauce In Australia?

In Australia, marinara sauce is typically associated with seafood and tomato goodness. It’s a popular sauce used in dishes like spaghetti marinara, which is a combination of fresh seafood mixed with a tomato-based sauce. However, this version of marinara sauce is quite different from the original Italian recipe.

The traditional Italian marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce with garlic sautéed in olive oil, tomatoes and herbs. It’s a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes, including pasta, pizza, and meat dishes.

In Australia, the use of seafood in marinara sauce has become so popular that it’s often referred to as “seafood marinara”. This version of the sauce typically includes prawns, calamari, mussels, and other types of seafood.

The Origins Of Marinara Sauce: A Brief History

The exact origins of marinara sauce are a bit of a mystery, but it’s widely believed to have been created in either Naples or Sicily, both regions located in southern Italy. It’s said to have been invented after the 16th century, when tomatoes were first introduced to Europe via Spanish explorers. The earliest citation of tomato sauce can be found in a 1692 Italian cookbook called Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward) by Italian chef Antonio Latini.

The name “marinara” directly translates to “seafaring” in Italian, and it’s believed that the sauce was given this name because it was heavily consumed by Italian merchants out at sea. The primary ingredients of a basic marinara sauce – tomatoes, oil, garlic, and dried herbs – were resistant to spoiling and stayed fresh enough for sailors to use while on the ship. As sailors were stuck on ships for months at a time, they needed food that was simple to prepare, as well as filling and healthy.

Another theory suggests that marinara sauce was a meal that sailor’s wives would prepare when the sailors returned to land. Upon seeing the arriving ships, the wives had just enough time to boil pasta and simmer a healthy, fresh sauce for their returning husbands. However, this theory is less widely accepted than the seafaring theory.

In any case, Italian immigrants brought over the staple in the early 20th century, cementing it in American cuisine as a must-have condiment. Today, marinara sauce is enjoyed all over the world and has become a staple in many households. While variations of the original recipe have emerged over time, the simple combination of tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions remains a classic and beloved sauce.

The Journey Of Marinara Sauce To Australia

The history of marinara sauce dates back to southern Italy, with both Naples and Sicily claiming it as their recipe. The original marinara sauce played an important role in the world’s history, as it was developed by Italian and Spanish explorers during their voyages to the Americas in the 16th and 17th centuries. The explorers recognized the potential of the tomato, which was considered a fruit in central Mexico, and brought it back to Italy.

The cooks aboard the ships returning from the Americas are widely credited with being the inventors of marinara sauce. They used the red, plump fruit already onboard from The New World in order to feed the crew. The ingredients – oil, tomato sauce, garlic and dried herbs – travelled well and didn’t spoil as easily as meat or fish. In addition, the ingredients could be assembled quickly and easily, in about the same time it took pasta to cook. Pairing pasta and marinara sauce made a tasty, filling and inexpensive meal to fuel the men working at sea. Therefore, Marinara Sauce is named after the sailors (marinai – the Italian word for “sailors”) who worked on the ships that established sea trade.

Fast forward 350 years or so and the early 1900s saw the largest migration of people across the globe- this enabled marinara sauce to become a staple across Western cuisine. This humble sauce helped to fuel the people who discovered new lands and was one of the most famous food staples that Italians, who had emigrated to the United States and other countries, brought with them.

In Australia, marinara sauce was introduced by Italian immigrants who brought their traditional recipes with them. Over time, Australians have put their own spin on marinara sauce by incorporating seafood into it. Today, seafood marinara is a popular dish in Australia and is enjoyed by many. Despite its evolution over time, marinara sauce remains an integral part of Italian cuisine and continues to be enjoyed by people all over the world.

What Makes Australian Marinara Sauce Unique?

What makes Australian marinara sauce unique is the addition of seafood. While the original Italian marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce, the Australian version has evolved to include a variety of seafood, giving it a distinct flavor profile. The addition of prawns, calamari, mussels, and other types of seafood creates a rich and flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with pasta. This version of marinara sauce has become a staple in Australian cuisine and is often found in Italian restaurants and homes alike. It’s a delicious and unique twist on the traditional recipe that has become beloved by many Australians.

Variations Of Marinara Sauce In Australia

Apart from the seafood marinara sauce, there are other variations of marinara sauce that are popular in Australia. One such variation is the spicy marinara sauce, which includes red pepper flakes, chili powder, or cayenne pepper to give it a kick of heat. This sauce is perfect for those who love a bit of spice in their food.

Another popular variation is the meat marinara sauce, which includes ground meat like beef or pork. This sauce is hearty and filling, making it a great option for those who want a more substantial meal. It’s often used in dishes like lasagna or spaghetti bolognese.

For those who prefer a vegetarian option, there’s also a mushroom marinara sauce. This variation includes sautéed mushrooms and onions, giving the sauce a rich and earthy flavor. It’s perfect for topping on pasta or as a base for pizza.

The Versatility Of Marinara Sauce: Different Uses And Recipes

Marinara sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some different uses and recipes for marinara sauce:

1. Pasta: Marinara sauce is commonly used as a pasta sauce. Simply cook your favorite pasta, and then mix it with marinara sauce for a quick and easy meal. You can also add meatballs, sausage, or vegetables to the sauce for added flavor.

2. Pizza: Marinara sauce is the traditional base for pizza. Spread the sauce over the pizza crust, and then add your favorite toppings, such as cheese, vegetables, or meat.

3. Meat dishes: Marinara sauce can be used as a topping for meat dishes, such as chicken or meatballs. Simply cook the meat, and then spoon the marinara sauce over it.

4. Dipping sauce: Marinara sauce is a great dipping sauce for breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, or other appetizers.

Here is a simple recipe for marinara sauce:


– 1 can of crushed tomatoes

– 1 tablespoon of olive oil

– 1 onion, chopped

– 3 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 teaspoon of dried basil

– 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until they are soft and translucent.

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir to combine.

4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.

5. Use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender to puree until smooth.

6. Serve the marinara sauce over pasta or use it in your favorite dishes.

How To Make Marinara Sauce At Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making marinara sauce at home is easy and requires only a few basic ingredients. Here is a step-by-step guide to making a classic marinara sauce:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.

2. Add chopped onions and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until they are softened and translucent.

3. Add minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

4. Pour in canned tomatoes, including their juices, and stir well.

5. Crush the tomatoes with your hands or a spatula to break them down into smaller pieces.

6. Add a bay leaf, salt, and fresh herbs like thyme or oregano to the pan with the sauce. If you’re adding basil, wait to add it until the end of cooking.

7. Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.

8. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is slightly reduced and thickened.

9. Remove the bay leaf and any herb stems.

10. Serve the sauce immediately over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

If you want to make a seafood marinara sauce, simply add your choice of seafood (such as prawns, calamari, or mussels) to the pan with the sauce during step 4. Cook the seafood for a few minutes until it is cooked through before serving.

Remember that marinara sauce can be easily customized to your liking by adding additional herbs or spices, adjusting the amount of salt, or adding other ingredients like red pepper flakes for some heat. With this simple recipe, you can enjoy delicious homemade marinara sauce in no time!