Port Wine–Bacon Marinara

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 cups

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

Your Italian grandmother probably doesn’t use bacon in her marinara, but I am not Italian and I am not your grandmother. Bacon adds a smoky, salty flavor to this classic red sauce that pairs perfectly with my bacon meatballs, as a base for fried calamari, ladled over pasta, or anything that you would normally eat with tomato sauce.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces (110 g) slab bacon
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 cup (240 ml) port wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Bacon Stock or chicken stock
  • 2 pounds (910 g) canned plum tomatoes, and their juices (28-ounce/794-g can plus 14-ounce/397-g can), tomatoes crushed with your hands
  • 8 whole fresh basil leaves


Heat the oil in large saucepan over low heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove the bacon to a plate. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until soft and lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and chile flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste begins to darken in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook until completely reduced, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, tomatoes, and the cooked bacon to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the basil. Lower the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard the bacon and basil. Puree the sauce with a hand blender, or process, in batches, in a food processor until smooth. Use immediately or let cool to room temperature and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The sauce will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.