Pamela’s Recipe of the Week: Marinara Sauce
- 2 – 28 ounce cans imported Gia Russa D.O.P. San Marzano plum tomatoes with basil, or other plum tomatoes in tomato puree with basil
- ¼ cup Ariston Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 ounces salt pork or fatback, optional but recommended
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 – 10 leaves fresh basil, torn
- ½ teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 18 grinds fresh black pepper or ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Makes approximately 7 Cups
- Open the tomatoes and pour the contents into a large bowl. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes in the puree (if you crush them under the puree you have a better chance of not getting squirted), and gently remove and discard the hard core from the stem end, and remove and discard any skin and tough membrane. Set the crushed tomato mixture aside.
- Put oil in a large, nonreactive pot, such as a Le Creuset enameled cast iron French oven or a stainless steel 6-quart stock pot. Do not use an aluminum pot as it may interact with the acid in the tomatoes and give the sauce a metallic taste. Set the pot over medium-low heat. If using the salt pork or fatback, cut it into small pieces and add to the pan. Sauté for about 5 – 8 minutes or until all fat has been rendered from the pieces. Remove and discard the salt pork or fatback pieces.
- Add the minced onion and sauté until translucent and just beginning to brown about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or just until fragrant. Take care when adding the garlic to the hot oil, as it will burn and turn bitter very quickly. If this happens, discard oil and vegetables and start over.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and all their puree and basil from the large bowl and add the salt. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook uncovered for about 1 hour or until the flavors have combined and the sauce is slightly thickened. If you prefer a thicker sauce, cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Stir in the torn basil leaves, oregano, and black pepper, and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and serve.
This recipe can be made with home-canned tomatoes, but only if they are plum or paste type tomatoes, and only if they are canned in tomato puree. Salad tomatoes do not have enough pulp and have too much liquid in them to make this recipe work. If your tomatoes were not jarred with basil, you will need to double the basil in the recipe. Also, if you use 2 quarts of home canned plum or paste tomatoes in puree, increase all the other recipe ingredients by ¼ to compensate for the 8 ounces more of tomatoes in the two jars versus the two cans.
The sauce can be prepared and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for a few days. It can also be sealed tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.