My Marinara Sauce Recipe for My Friends In Taiwan


1 7-pound can of tomato paste
6 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of red wine
Measuring spoons
Rubber scraper
Large pot (with a lid)


Remove the tomato paste from the can and add it to your pot – use the rubber scraper to get it as clean as you can, but it doesn’t really matter, because…

Fill up the can with water and add it to the paste.  It’s better to have too much water than too little water, as the water will boil off.  You can not overcook sauce, though you can burn sauce.

Chop/crush your garlic and add it to the pot.  Add the spice as well.

Add your wine.

Put the lid on your pot.

Turn the heat on low and let it simmer as long as you like.  Once the sauce reaches the consistency you prefer, it’s done.

This sauce freezes incredibly well; I like to fill used (and cleaned) water bottles with it.  A 500ml bottle is enough sauce for a pound of dry pasta (once it’s been cooked).

For those who are here in Taiwan and cost-conscious, like me, here’s a quick breakdown:

Tomato Paste: $160NT at Costco

McCormick Italian Seasoning: $200NT at Costco (it’s a huge bottle – it will make twenty recipes of this sauce)

Garlic: $10NT from anywhere

Cheap red wine: $110NT at Carrefour (do not buy expensive wine – buy the cheapest you can find)

In the end, your total cost, per recipe, is only around $200NT for over 4 liters of sauce.  Coupled with the price of pasta – around $50NT per dry pound – your base cost is a mere $75NT for a meal that will easily feed six people – that’s only $12NT per person.

To make it even better, buy sliced pork (or, any meat that isn’t ground pork or ground beef) at Carrefour or Costco and marinate it in the following (per pound of meat):

1 cup of water
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
2 cloves of chopped/crushed garlic


As long as it marinates for at least two hours, it will be fine – pour off the excess liquid when you’re ready to cook and fry the meat in a few tablespoons of oil using a sauté pan or wok.  You can then add that to your pasta.  I also like to add a pound of sugar snap peas, though I don’t cook them – I simply add them to the pasta, as it strains, to steam them a bit, before combining it all with my sauce and meat.  Doing this will increase your costs significantly, but it’s worth it to really complete the meal.  It shouldn’t cost you more than $300NT and it will be enough to feed eight adults: that’s a mere $50NT per person.  You can feed your whole family for the price of a single plate at a restaurant.

Eating Western food doesn’t have to be costly.  And those bottles of sauce make for great gifts that are sure-to-impress your Taiwanese friends.  Enjoy!

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