Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simple Marinara Sauce

I am pretty impressed with the way this sauce came out, generally I am a little timid to try recipes for tomato sauce because some of them come out way to acidic for my taste, but this one was very mild but very good. I used the San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes becuase the flavor is way better and less acidic.  Use a spoon to break up the canned tomatoes. Or, for a smoother sauce, crush the tomatoes in your hands, holding them low in the pot to avoid spattering. 
To make a hearty meat sauce, add 1/2 lb browned ground beef or cooked Italian sausage to the sauce after adding the tomatoes. 

Serve 6       Prep: 15 min     Cook: 1 hr 15 min


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes.
  • Or, 2 (28 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes plus 1 (8 oz.) can crushed tomato
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

  1. In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onion; saute, stirring frequently about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium; add garlic to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring, until onion is soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
  2. Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
  3. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

* Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions *

Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking
Serves 4 as a main course; 
makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • Salt to taste

  1. Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (3 qt) over medium heat.
  2. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes.
  3. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
  4. remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste ( you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn't need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.
  5. Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese.
If you don't like the chunky sauce, it is ok to puree it in a blender after its been made.

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