Marinara Sauce

from Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin Davison

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Makes 4 cups

This recipe makes enough to sauce more than a pound of pasta; leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen. Because canned tomatoes vary in acidity and saltiness, it’s best to add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste just before serving. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, give it just three or four pulses in the food processor in step 4.

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti or Merlot
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1–2 teaspoons sugar, as needed (see note)

1. Pour the tomatoes into a strainer set over a large bowl. Open the tomatoes with your hands and remove and discard the fibrous cores; let the tomatoes drain excess liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup tomatoes from the strainer and set aside. Reserve 21/2 cups tomato juice and discard the remainder.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes from the strainer and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring every minute, until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pan and a brown fond forms around the pan edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine and cook until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Add the reserved tomato juice and bring to a simmer; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and loosening any browned bits, until the sauce is thick, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the sauce to a food processor (or transfer to a saucepan and insert a hand blender; see Equipment Corner on page 169) and add the reserved tomatoes; process until slightly chunky, about eight 2-second pulses. Return the sauce to the skillet, add the basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.