Traditional Marinara Sauce

Some of you might be smiling at my attempt of sharing a recipe with you, but what you eat on the day of the MCAT, or while studying for the MCAT, actually does matter. I have heard really bad advice and witnessed terrible eating habits of physicians. One of my interviewers even told me to eat a lot of Ramen Noodle’s during medical school to save money. Talking about irresponsibility!

Here is a simple recipe that can serve as an ideal lunch during MCAT studying. You could also eat it cold (which I have done numerous times :D). To make all of this even more attractive, it’s really cheap! And it tastes much better than the canned pasta sauces in the grocery store.

Traditional Marinara Pasta (spaghetti alla marinara)

1,5-2 (12 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes
1 clove of garlic (if you’re Italian, you didn’t cringe)
fresh basil (if possible)
pasta/spaghetti of choice
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt for taste

You are probably familiar with Spaghetti and Marinara sauce that is loaded with ground beef, onions, oregano, cheese, etc. Let me assure you, this is not traditional! Most Italian foods are made of a few simple ingredients, but you have to get the proportions and the cooking right. This is the best way to prepare Marinara Sauce!


Cut/crush the garlic. Pour the olive oil into a hot pan and let it heat up for about a minute. Add the garlic and saute it briefly. This means that you simmer it until it gets a light-brownish, tan color – not brown! If you overdo this step, the garlic will turn bitter, so keep stirring on a low to medium flame. Once you sauteed the garlic for about 3 minutes, which releases all the precious juices, insert the crushed tomatoes. Once the sauce boils you can stir in the basil & salt (I’d say about 1-2 tbsp), and you are done. I hope you know how to cook spaghetti’s, if not your mom really didn’t teach you any cooking! There are also easy instructions on the package.

Two cans of tomatoes will actually give you a lot of sauce, which I like. This way I can use it for several meals or on pizza, etc. If you tried it, let me know how it turned out :).