Thursday, March 20, 2008

simple marinara sauce

Marinara Sauce (large)

I'm a glass-half-full kind of person. Most days it isn't terribly difficult for me to drum up an anecdote or thoughtful commentary to share. However, even people with the brightest, sunniest dispositions (not that I would necessarily categorize myself as such) have some of those days -- the ones where they feel bitter, jaded, or downright antisocial. Today is one of those days for me, so in keeping with the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" mantra, which was drilled into my head as a child, I'll keep the preface to my recipe today short. Tomorrow is another day -- for another recipe and another mood.

This is obviously not the most complicated recipe I will ever post on Dulcedo, but I decided to include it because a simple, flavorful tomato sauce ought to be in everyone's recipe arsenal. It is perfect over pasta (shamrock and four leaf clover shapes optional), added to a lasagna, or for breadstick dipping. Additionally, you can adapt recipes like this to use whatever you have on hand. In fact, I would encourage you to see this as only a template for your own sauce. If you have some chopped green pepper or grated Parmesan cheese, throw it in. You can also tame the acidity of the tomatoes with a little sugar or dial up the spiciness with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. This recipe is a blank canvas on which to paint all your marinara dreams, so experiment away and find the ingredient combination you like best. (And please do leave a comment if any of you actually have "marinara dreams." I like to cook -- a lot -- but, thankfully, pasta sauces don't invade my thoughts at night!)

Simple Marinara Sauce
A Dulcedo original
Yields about 3 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can organic whole tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chop the whole tomatoes in a food processor until they are broken down but not completely pureed. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the minced onion and garlic and saute until tender, 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and white wine and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the oregano, basil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve.


  1. I have a glass-half-empty day myself once in a while. And it's on those sort of days that I enjoy simple food - like pasta with marinara sauce - the most. Your recipe sounds really simple, and I like how you've left the texture a bit chunky.

  2. Thanks! I like sauces that are a little thicker (but nowhere near "glop") because they usually hang onto the noodles better.

    I think I'll borrow an idea from your robust red sauce and try red wine and rosemary the next time.