Is marinara sauce served hot or cold?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Is marinara sauce served hot or cold? We will tell you how the marinara sauce is made and best served, and how to properly reheat pasta with sauce. 

Is marinara sauce served hot or cold?

The ideal is to have the sauce ready to mix with the pasta when it is freshly cooked to maintain all its flavor, always hot. Depending on the recipe, we can bind pasta and sauce in a pan over the fire (for example with the Bolognese Barilla sauce), or we can mix everything in a source (recommended when using a pesto sauce such as Pesto Genovese so that in this way the sauce does not lose color or aroma). 

Keep in mind that we will need about 100 – 125 grams of sauce per person in the case of a tomato-based sauce (Bolognese, Napolitana, Basilico, Ricotta, Olive, Arrabbiata) and about 50 grams in the case of Pesto sauces ( Genovese, Rosso, Siciliana).

As final considerations, it is a good idea to preheat dishes, as pasta cools very quickly. We can put them in the oven at medium temperature for a few minutes, or we can use a hotplate to place the pasta dish on top. Finally, you cannot miss good Italian cheese, which should be added after the sauce, and if possible grated at the time of serving.

It is recommended to cook the marinara sauce, not so much because it is dangerous if you eat it raw, but to combine the flavors of cooked food (such as a steak or pasta) and the sauce.

The marinara sauce in cans should be heated before adding to the meal, also, and the result will be very good … although it can be improved! With spices, vegetables, and other ingredients it is possible to personalize the sauce, giving it a special touch. 

How is a marinara sauce made?

The main ingredients of marinara sauce are:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 chili
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

We start this seafood sauce by preparing the vegetables. It is a sauce that will have among its rows some classic ingredients, we will peel and mince the garlic, onion, and pepper. In the case of peppers, it can be red or green depending on the final flavor that we want to give it or the availability we have.

We add two tablespoons of olive oil and begin to fry the vegetables. We will start with the onion, when it begins to be tender we will put the garlic and finally the pepper. The ideal is to prepare this background over low heat allowing the aromas and flavor of these ingredients to blend perfectly.

We will add white wine to this background. With this ingredient, we will achieve a fruity flavor that combines perfectly with all kinds of fish, a delicate and fine white wine that will perfectly fall into that unique mixture of flavors.

When the alcohol has evaporated, we add the two tablespoons of tomato paste. We will let them mix and give us that characteristic color and flavor.

We will dissolve the tablespoon of cornstarch in half a glass of water so that you can finish binding the sauce. We can use conventional flour if we do not have this ingredient.

We add it to the sauce while stirring, this last step will take about 5 minutes to achieve the desired texture for a marinara sauce. The flour should be cooked to avoid adding that annoying gritty flavor.

If the sauce is very liquid, we can add more cornstarch and if it is too thick we will add a little more water. Rectify with salt and pepper, and we will have an exquisite marine sauce ready!

How to reheat pasta with sauce?

Ideally, the pasta is freshly made and calculate the approximate amount we need per person so as not to end up with a pot full of boiled spaghetti. In fact, anything that means reheating pasta will be a source of outrage – and rightly so – in Italy.

Of course, no matter how little time we have, we cannot make pasta for a week either, for food safety and because, like all ingredients, pasta also loses properties that change its texture and flavor. So 3 days should be the maximum to keep the pasta in the fridge. Remember that the pasta is boiled in 10 minutes. Are you sure you don’t have time?

If we are still out of hand or we are in such a hurry that we decide to make in quantity to save, we have to do it well so that it does not dry out or become so doughy that it is inedible.

A splash of oil – If we keep the pasta in the container without oil, it will inevitably end up turning into a sticky dough. A splash of extra virgin oil and stir well so that all the pasta is soaked is the solution to keep it in perfect condition. Every 12 hours we can stir the content a little so that all the oil does not go to the bottom.

Always al dente – It would have to be the norm and Italians should take their heads for how we cook pasta here. It is true that we tend to cook it more than necessary, but really al dente is the perfect point for pasta. 

Correctly cooked pasta is healthier as it is digested more slowly, regulating blood glucose levels little by little. And if we decide to save it for another day, it will withstand the passing of hours much better than an overcooked pasta that, over time, will become even pastier.

Never cool with water – Sacrilege would be the least we could say about this widespread technique. You should never cool the pasta with water after cooking, it loses its texture and porosity, being smooth and too soft. 

If we cook the pasta as we have said, al dente, remove it from the heat and drain, it will just be done with the residual heat remaining just right. Then, you just have to let it cool down to room temperature with a splash of oil so it doesn’t stick.

Final tips

You always have to refrigerate cooked pasta (and rice, meat, legumes, vegetables, fish …) otherwise, over time, bacteria appear that can be very harmful to our health due to the intake of toxins, even causing liver necrosis and death in severe cases. 

So it is not a joke and, when in doubt, if due to an oversight we have left the pasta out for too long – especially in summer – better get rid of it.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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