We were at the cabin when I first made this sauce. It was winter, and I used a large can of tomatoes. The following summer I made it with fresh tomatoes from the garden, and it was even better. Some people say that real marinara sauce is made only with garlic, basil, salt and pepper and olive oil. That may be, but I like this recipe.
It has a full rich flavor that is wonderful on pasta or pizza. Give it a try.
6 medium tomatoes (3 to 3 1/2 inch diameter) or a large can (28 oz.) of diced tomatoes
4 T. olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 six-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried crushed oregano (or two T. chopped fresh oregano)
1 tsp. dried crushed basil (or two T. chopped fresh basil)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed in mortar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 T. anchovy paste or two finely chopped anchovy fillets
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
If using fresh tomatoes, bring a pot of water to boiling. Wash the tomatoes and scald them in the boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds until the skins begin to wrinkle. Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and put them in ice water to cool. Remove the skins and cores and chop the tomatoes medium fine. If you don’t like the seeds, cut the tomatoes into fourths and remove the seeds before chopping.
Peel and mince the garlic and finely dice the onion. Heat the olive oil over low heat in a medium size sauce pan (about 3 or 4 quarts). Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 15 or 20 seconds. Do not allow the onion or garlic to brown.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, salt, herbs, spices, anchovy paste and wine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer the sauce for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally. Be careful not to scorch the sauce, especially as it begins to thicken. Add a little more wine if the sauce gets thicker than you want.
Serve over your favorite pasta or use it to make a pizza. Offer grated Parmesan cheese at the table.
NOTES: You may be afraid to include the anchovy paste or chopped anchovies, but I guarantee that you will not taste any fish in this recipe. The anchovies add a depth to this sauce that is lacking in most of the commercial sauces you encounter which try to give more flavor by adding more salt and sugar.
You can make a good meat sauce by browning a pound of hamburger seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Drain the meat and stir it into the sauce before serving. Even better, brown a pound of bulk Italian sausage and add it to the sauce.