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Friday
Feb272015

Sunday Tomato Sauce

I checked three different classic Italian cookbooks, and not one had a slow-cooked, meatless tomato sauce. Lots of variations on a theme, but I would venture not one would render this kind of a result.  If you take the time to look at some of the higher end commercial marinara sauces on the market, named after famous chefs or restaurants, what you will find is this very short list of ingredients.  The sauce in the jar will taste just like this sauce after you have cooked it for one hour.  (At a cost of about $2 vs $8.95).  But nothing out there will come close to this. You don’t have to buy the San Marzano Tomatoes, just a good imported Italian brand like Cento or Tutterosa.

4 28 oz cans crushed tomato with added puree
2 cans tomato paste
2 28 oz cans water
3 large sweet onions
10-15 cloves garlic
2 tbs fresh oregano leaves
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil 

  • Chop the oregano and the garlic and put into an 8 quart dutch oven with the olive oil.  Don’t turn it on yet.
  • Chop the onions, and when you are down to the last one, turn on the pan.
  • When the garlic and the Oregano has been sizzling for a minute or two, add the onions and stir.
  • Saute the onions until they start to stick, but don’t brown them or the sauce gets sweet.
  • Add all of the tomato products and water and stir.
  • Bring to a low boil, then a very, very low simmer.  It should bubble in a couple of places, but that’s all
  • If you have screen to go over your pan, use one, it spatters.
  • Stir every hour, scraping the sides down.  But don't scrape the bottom very hard.  Just enough to get most of the bulk off the bottom.  This part can taste burnt, so don't ever really scrape this into the sauce.
  • You can taste every two hours, just to note the differences, but I think the 6 hour version is the best.
  • At the end of 6 hours, turn off the sauce, let it cool and taste.  Adjust your seasoning with salt, black pepper or crushed red pepper if you wish.

I like to put cooked meatballs in the sauce to simmer (but not raw ones, please).  Partially browned and cooked Italian Sausage works, too.  (Meaning it’s still pink inside.)  This sauce will stick to any kind of pasta, but I prefer the large penne, either straight cut, or on the diagonal with the ridges the best.   I would also use this sauce to make lasagna, eggplant or any baked dish.  

It freezes well, and should yield about 4 quarts, enough for two very large family meals.

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