Christine from our Facebook fan page recently asked if we had a marinara sauce recipe and my quick answer was that we haven’t documented it on the site but we make it consistently during the summer months. Christine’s question also made us think deeply about the difference between tomato sauace and marinara (and there are many), not touching on the further differentiation associated with “pizza sauce.”
For Italians, marinara is made with whole, fresh, tomatoes (usually peeled and de-seeded plum, cherry, Roma, or San Marzano varieties) and is simply a quick pan sauce that is not simmered or cooked for a long period of time. Our marinara recipe consists of the following ingredients:
- ¼ cup of very good extra-virgin olive oil
- 6-7 pieces of garlic, sliced thin (optional)
- 5-7 medium sized plum, Roma, or San Marzano tomatoes with seeds and skin removed – usually crushed by hand
- Salt and pepper
- Hot pepper flakes
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- The process is quick, and unlike tomato sauce, it doesn’t include simmering ingredients (including carrots, onions, etc.) for a long period of time yielding a more complex and thicker “sauce” or ragu.
- We begin with a medium sized fry pan and add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and a bit of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the ingredients over a medium flame and thereafter add the tomatoes. On adding the tomatoes, the stem, seeds and skin should be removed, and thereafter you’ll want to use your hands to crush each tomato over a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to work the tomatoes and stir well. You can of course leave the seeds and skin (as I often do) but removing the skin and seeds will create a slightly more refined condiment for your pasta.
- Cook down the ingredient until you begin to see the olive oil turn a beautiful orange/red color. Add Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and stir well. Shred your basil by hand and add it to the sauce and stir well (if you don’t have basil parsley is perfectly acceptable).
- Total cooking time should be about 10 minutes. The goal should be to create a fresh tasting sauce that is light and seasonal (namely, reflecting the summer and early Fall when tomatoes are at their peak)