Last week the internet in our neighborhood, which left me wondering, how did we ever live without it. Does anyone else remember having to use a typewriter or write a memo instead of email? I took advantage of the stillness and cooked. It had been awhile since I did not have any distractions, not that work is a distraction, but I was able to slow down and enjoy this me time. I decided to go to the pantry and see what I could make with the staples on-hand. I had tomatoes and I had garlic. This recipe for Classic Marinara Sauce is one that we enjoy a few times a month. It is so easy to make, and it is really good.
This recipe is inspired by Marcella Hazan who I considered to be an Italian goddess in the kitchen. Her recipes are classic, simple, and full of flavor. This marinara sauce is exactly that and can be made at the drop of a hat using what is in your pantry. In the winter, I use canned crushed or whole tomatoes, basically whatever is on hand. In the summer, I will use fresh tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients always stay the same.
You cannot go wrong by keeping this recipe as a staple in your kitchen. It can ready to serve in 45 minutes; or if you have more time, continue cooking it for another hour or two. It only gets better with time. It is great served with any pasta, and it is wonderful over grilled chicken or a firm white fish.
- 5 medium-size garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 28 ounces of whole or crushed tomatoes - preferably San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of sugar
- half of a large yellow onion, paper left on
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and stir. If using whole tomatoes from a can, lightly break up with the back of a spoon.
Stir in the oregano and sugar. Add the onion.
Lower the heat to a very low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes. I stir it every so often to make sure it is not sticking.
If you are going to serve immediately, then crush the tomatoes using a spoon or potato masher. If you have time continue cooking over a very low simmer for another hour or two. Gets better with time.
Before serving, stir in the butter and stir until melted.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Don't be tempted to use fresh tomatoes for the classic recipe as canned works best. If you can find Italian ones with no seasoning, it is even better!