Compliments of my Sicilian Grandmother! Before marriage in 1968, I spent hours in the kitchen with my grandmother. Standing next to her with pen and paper in hand, I diligently wrote down everything she did. I wanted to capture the essence of her culinary delights. My grandmother and mother never used cookbooks. All their recipes were from muscle memory, past down from one generation to the next. My Grandmother lived with us and this is how she prepared her sauce. Mind you, she used real plum tomatoes that she pureed with her wooden cone. I have fond memories of watching her grind away, but I prefer good, organic, imported canned plum tomatoes or plum tomatoes from my garden.
I'm including this recipe in the Pasta section because marinara and good Italian pasta make the perfect marriage!
Basic Marinara Sauce
2 cans of imported, organic Italian plum tomatoes (pureed in blender)
2 large garlic cloves
1 T oregano (crumble fresh herbs or use 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
2 fresh basil leaves or 3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 cp dry vermouth (yes - vermouth!)
Slice the garlic in half and, in large sauce pot, brown garlic in 1 scant tsp extra virgin olive oil. When browned remove garlic from pan. Then add 2 cps of the pureed tomatoes to the sauce pot, and boil on high for 2 minutes. Stir often with a 'good' wooden spoon to keep from burning. Repeat this process till half the tomatoes are boiled. Then add the rest of the ingredients, oregano through dry vermouth, stir well, and continue the process of adding 2 cps tomatoes at a time, boiling for 2 minutes and stirring, till all the sauce has been added.
Boil the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes so it doesn't burn. This will get messy but it's the secret to incredible sauce. (My grandmother was a fabulous cook, but the kitchen was blitzed after her 'handiwork'.) After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to very low and let sauce simmer on low for 1 hour. Stir often. If the sauce is a bit thick, add a wee bit more water or veggie broth till consistency of your liking. Don't be shocked at how the sauce has reduced. That's the way it's supposed to be, but the taste is wonderful! Serve over whole wheat pasta of your choice, or try it on brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta.