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Oct 10, 2007 10:48 AM


I recently bought a 28 oz can 3-pack of 'Napoletano San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes of area Sarnese - Nocerino D.O.P. With Basil leaf' at Costco. Now what should I do with them? I do need a simple sauce for my lads pasta. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. My new favorite basic tomato sauce (for about the past year) is from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano. For some reason it tastes just right to me and is great with additions such as sauteed sausage, mushrooms, etc. The secret seems to be the carrot.

    I don't know if the basil leaf will change the flavor of this sauce. I make a point of never buying tomatoes with flavoring in them as one can't tell if it'll add to the taste or ruin it. I guess you just have to try it out.

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 Spanish onion (I don't even know what that is (red?) and have always used just regular onion with fine results)

    4 cloves garlic sliced thinly

    3 Tbsps fresh thyme chopped (I've also used dried)

    1/2 finely shredded medium carrot (I don't really know what a "medium" carrot is and usually shred a whole one

    2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes

    Heat olive oil and sautee the garlic and onion until soft and browned lightly over medium heat. Batali says 8-10 minutes.

    Add the thyme and shredded carrot and cook for about 5 minutes until the carrot is soft.

    Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, while stirring.

    Simmer over low heat until the sauce is "as thick as hot cereal" (Mario's wording here)
    About 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.

    This produces a very tasty sauce which is improved by addition of lots of different stuff as I said above. It even makes store-bought frozen ravioli (such as Genoa) taste really good.

    Mario uses it in his cookbook as a sauce for "Mock Tripe" - a dish with eggs made into sort-of crepes, then sliced into noodle shapes and served with the tomato sauce. I haven't tried this, but it sounds good.

    3 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      Oakjoan, I like Mario Batali's sauce. The carrott does something and the "fresh" thyme is another key item. Thanks for the suggestions to add sausage and mushrooms.

      1. re: Shunick

        The carrot sweetens it in a natural way. Never thought to put thyme in though, hope I remember next time I make a pot!

      2. re: oakjoan

        If you posted Mario's recipe verbatim, that's Chowhound nono! As far as I know Spanish onions have yellow skins and are white after the skins are removed.

      3. i'm a little partial to keeping it simple, when you start with great ingredients like that. my sauce of choice is marcella hazan's super-simple tomato with onion and butter sauce, from "essentials of italian cooking". i don't have the book with me, but here's the recipe from memory.

        squish the tomatoes in your hands to break them up. pour the tomatoes and all their juice into a saucepan. cut an onion in half and plunk it in with the tomatoes. add 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter. simmer for 45 minutes. discard the onion and serve sauce, making sure the melted butter is stirred into it.

        that is some seriously good, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts eating. i know it seems weird to chuck the onion, but over the course of the 45 minutes, the flavor infuses into the tomatoes and the butter lends a wonderful silkiness. yum yum yum.


        3 Replies
        1. re: funkymonkey

          I was going to suggest this sauce from Marcella Hazan. Another basic one I do from Marcella is with garlic and basil. That's the one I usually make -- sans basil for freezing lots of batches when my mother-in-law's Roma and San Marzanos get ripe and she gives us bags of beautiful tomatoes. With canned San Marzanos I also like her tuna sauce.

          Enjoy your San Marzanos!

          1. re: funkymonkey

            I have been making this sauce for years-it is the best. What I did start doing as a variation though is pureeing the onion at the end and putting it back into the sauce. It giving it the texture of a cream sauce with out the cream :)

            1. re: jewels_vancouver

              I recently purchased San Marzano tomatoes by Cento at Shoprite. They were 2.79 for a 28 oz can--a steal! I just made a tasty sauce last night!

          2. I've been looking to buy San Marzano tomatos without using the internet. Which Costco did you see them out, if you don't mind me asking?

            1 Reply
            1. re: JDalldorf

              Several in the greater Los Angeles area, Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, W.L.A. and Alhambra.

            2. My current favorite quickie meal involves making a simple tomato sauce:
              Saute 1/2 small onion (diced), 2 garlic cloves (diced) in olive oil. Once the onion is softened, I add in 1 small tin of anchovies and a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes. I saute the mixture until the anchovies break up. I add in 1 whole can of the tomatoes, which I have squished with my hand. I simmer the sauce on low while I boil a package (500g) of spaghetti.
              Drain the spaghetti after it is cooked and toss it in the sauce. I serve this with a generous amount of grated romano cheese.

              5 Replies
              1. re: mightycheesehead

                Costco has San Marzano tomatoes? Well, color me skunked. I got them in an Italian specialty store.

                I guess the key is not to make a bolognese sauce with them? I did, and decried the high price I paid.

                I'll have to try the sauces here.

                1. re: dolores

                  Why not use them in a bolognese sauce?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I just did, actually it has another half hour to go, using Marcella Hazans bolognese sauce! Takes a long time, but well worth it!

                  2. re: dolores

                    dolores, i drain most of the liquid away from tomatoes after ive crushed them

                    1. re: dolores

                      AFAIK, they always have, or at least have for several years. They used to come in a huge, institutional size can. Good to know they are more suitably sized for home use now.

                  3. Just bought and used this exact same item for "Eggs in Purgatory", a Neapolitan based recipe, that spices a simple tomato sauce with some crushed red pepper and fresh basil, heats and reduces it in a large saute/fry pan then poaches 2-3 eggs in the "nests" you make for the eggs. Cover and cook until just firm. Serve with lots of fresh bread and a green salad.

                    I am not sure that San Marzano made a huge difference versus the regular tomatoes, but it was certainly delicious.