Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce

Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Yield: approximately 1 quart of sauce

The sauce is not truly 25 years old ~ but learned how to make it from a renown San Francisco Bay Area chef in a cooking class he taught over 25 years ago. It's my "go-to" Marinara sauce.  One taste and you'll forget about the the store bought stuff.

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Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce

Canned whole tomatoes (Two 1 pound 12 ounce cans, will yield one quart of marinara sauce when prepared this way)
Olive oil
Fresh or dried herbs (scant 1 Tablespoon of dried, or a fistful of fresh)
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the contents of both cans of tomatoes into a blender or food processor (I doubt that Arturo's grandmother had access to either, but we didn't question him.)
It's a good idea to place the pureed tomatoes within easy reach of the pan, along with a ladle (one with a 4-ounce capacity is perfect) near your cook top where the cooking will take place.

In a large shallow, non-reactive pan heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add 5 or 6 whole, peeled cloves of garlic.

Stir occasionally to keep from burning, until they are a medium golden brown. At this point you can remove the garlic, as it has flavored the oil nicely, or you can leave them in the pan and proceed with the recipe, removing them later. (I usually leave them in and fish them out later.)

Add the herbs, (dried or fresh.)  If using fresh, be generous ~ their oils are not as concentrated as dried.
Stir quickly, just long enough for them to release their oils.
Dried red chili flakes could be added at this point if you prefer a spicy sauce.
Then add one ladle of pureed tomatoes to the pan. 

Stir to combine letting the tomatoes to come to a boil, stirring so the mixture won't scorch.
Allow to cook and evaporate until the spoon leaves a trail as you pull it across the bottom of the pan before adding the next ladle of tomatoes. All the while retaining a bubbling boil.  

Take your time, allowing each ladleful to evaporate until the mixture thickens, leaving a trail before adding the next.  Continue this method one ladle of the tomatoes at a time, until all of the puree is used up. Add salt and pepper, stir and taste ---add more of either if needed.

NOTES: The entire steamy process, a ladleful at a time, usually takes about 30 minutes.  Resist the idea of rushing the process (your patient effort will reward you with a deeply flavored marinara sauce if you do it slowly.)  
Caution: The hot tomato sauce may spatter and spit as you are reducing it, so be careful.

I always keep my prepared sauce in a 1-quart canning jar. It will keep one week, tightly covered, under refrigeration.  It also freezes beautifully. If you are going to freeze in canning jar, don't fill quite to the top. Leave about 3/4-inch head room to allow for expansion.

I always try to have some in the fridge or freezer ~ it's so convenient to have it on hand, and it is far superior to anything I've tasted from the market.

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