Awesome sauce

5 Feb

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of those tried-and-true dishes that appeal to most everyone. When my kids were growing up I simply opened up a jar of Ragu or Prego – thinking it was “good enough”. But over the years I realized those jarred sauces were high in sodium and not much more than seasoned tomato sauce and I could probably produce a tastier, healthier version. And I have. But that doesn’t stop me from trying new sauces! I found an intriguing recipe for Marinara Sauce in the reissued Joy of Cooking (2019) mega book by descendants of the authors of the original Joy of Cooking (1931), Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. It’s a hefty 1165 page cookbook with 600 new recipes and more than 4,000 “revised and updated ones.” I find this new version even more intimidating than I did the original cookbook (a mere 849 pages) given as a wedding present to me and my husband by my California Strimling cousins, along with a copy of Joy of Sex (1972) by Alex Comfort (no, it’s not a cookbook!)

This classic cookbook contains all you need to know to cook just about anything – if you can lift it. The format of the recipes is unlike most other cookbooks. Recipes are written with ingredients placed in the instructional text at the time of their use. Like the original version, it has a red ribbon bookmark stitched into the seam – so you can mark your page – a nice feature.

I enjoy paging through this massive book when I watch TV. That’s how I ran across this simple sauce. I did not have fresh basil on hand so I added a teaspoon of dried basil – along with fresh oregano, that I did have. I opted for the six garlic cloves but I didn’t process all when I finished the sauce. I tend to overwhelm others with my passion for garlic. And yes, you can overdo a good a thing!

Marinara Sauce

About 2¼ cups

Combine in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat:

2 pounds fresh plum or Roma tomatoes, peeled, and coarsely chopped, or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

⅓ cup olive oil

3 to 6 garlic cloves, to taste, halved and smashed

6 sprigs basil

6 sprigs parsley

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Simmer, uncovered, crushing the tomatoes with a potato masher or a wooden spoon to break them up, until the sauce is thickened about 10 minutes. For a smoother texture, you may pass the sauce through a food mill or puree in a blender or a food processor. Season to taste with: salt and black pepper

Note: you can also use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. And this is a sauce you can keep on the burner for a couple of hours to deepen the flavors!

Pictured below: His and her pasta dishes. He likes whole wheat pasta; I opt for spiralized zucchini. Meatballs are a Lidia Bastianich recipe using equal parts veal, ground beef and ground pork. It’s a recipe I discovered watching the legendary chef on her PBS show when we were up North several years ago with our good friends, Bev and Howard, and had only three TV stations to watch. PM me if you want the recipe!

One Response to “Awesome sauce”

  1. Geri Lawhon February 6, 2021 at 4:52 pm #

    Always looking for new sauce menus. Thanks for the recipe.

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