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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.

                    1. My aunt Millie taught me to make pasta sauce decades ago and we still love it the best. She used tomato sauce, but San Marzanos would work just fine too.

                      Onion, garlic, ground meat of your choice, rosemary and bay leaves. I let it simmer for hours and it's just the vry best. Something in the way the bay and rosemary interact makes you want to eat and eat. We never feel full and it does not weigh heavy on your stomach.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: CherylS

                        Hi, CherylS--

                        I'm very interested in the sauce you describe here (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4495...) and would love to try it. Would you be willing to share the recipe?

                        Hope to hear from you, thanks so much...


                        1. re: kelleyscorpio

                          Hi Kelley. I've made this sauce so many times, I know it like the back of my hand. I've tried using canned whole tomatoes and it comes out too watery so I've gone back to canned tomato sauce.

                          1 Onion chopped and sauted
                          As much garlic as you like, chopped, sauted
                          1 or 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (turkey just is not as good) Brown it.
                          2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce. (the Muir Glen I bought a case of (no salt added, organic) is so acidic, I'm not liking it. It does seem to matter.
                          A little water (very little)
                          As much rosemary as you like. I put in a generous amount - maybe 3 4 in. branches from my rosemary bush cut into bits.
                          3 large bay leaves

                          Now just let it simmer uncovered adding a little water if it seems too thick.

                          Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

                          I let it cook for a couple of hours usually on very low heat. At some point Millie added some tomato paste, but I have not found it matters a lot.

                          I hope you like this recipe. It's so simple. P.S. There is a highly rated restaurant here called Delfinas. Friends took us there one night to have one of their signature pasta dishes. It tasted exactly like this dish I've made for years. My husband and I just looked at each other in amazement. Our friends went on and on about how wonderful it was. Too funny.

                          1. re: CherylS

                            Oh wow, this is wonderful, thank you so much! I'm really looking forward to trying it. I have a standard sauce in which I use basil and oregano, the usual, and have been wanting to find some alternatives. Rosemary and bay leaves sound great. And, ha, I love that the restaurant's signature dish is the same as yours, too good.

                            I really appreciate the recipe, thank you.

                            1. re: CherylS

                              Wanted to let you know that I tried the recipe and we really enjoyed it, it really yummy and I'll be happily making it in the future. Thanks again!

                        2. Ooh, definitely an Amatriciana. I use the recipe from right here on Chow, http://www.chow.com/recipes/10446, but the NYTimes also ran a whole story on it recently. It's my go-to in the winter, since it's so easy to keep the ingredients on hand.

                          1. yummy... I always (mostly) use San Marzano in my vodka sauce... don't think the basil would harm it but don't know

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: oryza

                              A few months ago I bought my first can of San Marzanos and used the sauce recipe from the back of the can. It was the most delicious sauce I've ever had! It included anchovies and tuna. I just bought another can, but it no longer has the recipe! I am sure I can fudge my way through it, but maybe some one knows the exact combination? Many thanks!

                            2. My Costco is now selling San Marzano whole tomatoes in shrink wrap of four 28 ounce cans. It works out to about $3/can. Tomatoes from Italy are much lower in salt than our domestically canned product. Superior tomato and very low in salt. Just another reason to buy them.

                              1. You could use them for a pizza sauce. Boil them down gently in a saucepan with your favorite seasonings. Top your pizza with the sauce. So easy.