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In need of a good marinara recipe

I'm a beginning cook and I'm in need of a good homemade marinara recipe. I prefer my tomato sauce not to be sweet. Any ideas?

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  1. Heat olive oil in a pot, add sliced garlic, cook until garlic starts to sizzle. Add two cans of Whole tomatoes 26oz each that you crushed by hand. Add salt & pepper and a pinch of oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it tastes like Marinara sauce.

    If your canned tomatoes are packed in thick tomato puree, you may need to add a little water at the beginning...

    12 Replies
    1. re: Gastronomos

      My recipe is much like yours. When I have time I use whole garlic cloves and then once it is cooked put everything through the food mill. Herb varies with dried oregano in the winter and fresh basil in the summer if I have it.

      1. re: Gastronomos

        Similarly,
        about a 1 cup of olive oil in a small pot, add a head of whole, peeled garlic and 2-3 rough chop shallots.
        Cook on low until garlic in tender.
        In a larger pan, add two cans of whole tomatoes that you crushed by hand, bring up to simmer, add garlic/oil/shallot mix, shiffonned fresh basil, coupla pinches of crushed chili, simmer about 20 minutes.
        Add sugar (or splenda) to taste.

        1. re: porker

          No sugar, especially if one doesn't like it sweet. If you want to sweeten, grate a bit of carrot in.

          1. re: coll

            IMO carrot can dull the flavor of a sauce. Sugar does not necessarily make a sweet sauce any more than salt necessarily makes a salty sauce. If your sauce needs a bit of sweetness to balance it out, a pinch of sugar is the most direct way to get there.

            It seems like many people are opposed to seasoning and balancing with sugar on principle alone. I have no idea why.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              James Peterson's book "Sauces" has an interesting suggestion. Improve tomato sauce by adding sugar just until it seems sweet. Then add vinegar just until it seems acidic. Finish the process by adding sugar until the acidity has disappeared. This makes for a more vivid sauce.

              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                The add more vinegar and so on...
                {;-/)

                1. re: porker

                  I tried this once, and felt that the sauce was vivid enough to begin with. It reminded me of watching technicolor films. Yes the colors are vivid, but that doesn't necessarily make for a better film.

                  Maybe my hand with the seasoning was a little ham fisted. Or perhaps the tomatoes I started out with were in the balance that I liked. If they had been lacking it might have brought them up to an appropriate level.

              2. re: cowboyardee

                I put the tiniest pinch of carrot, less than a spoonful. It's more for good luck from my late MIL than anything noticible. But never would add sugar, just a personal thing perhaps.

          2. re: Gastronomos

            having done hundreds of side-by-side tastings of marinara recipes, i can say that the recipe posted by GASTRONOMOS above, is the best.

            follow his/her recipe exactly.
            do NOT use garlic powder nor onion powder ever.

            the quality of the canned tomatoes you use will affect outcome.

            1. re: Gastronomos

              My marinara is just like yours. Lots of garlic and I love the flavor the oregano imparts.

              1. re: Gastronomos

                That's how my dad did it, except he'd always use a small red onion chopped, too with the garlic.

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  Ditto. LOTS of garlic - I sometimes use a shallot, too. And a chiffonade of fresh basil in the summer. Perfection.

                2. Dice garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves and onion. Saute in a pot, add a cup of wine, either red or white, reduce, add I can of tomato paste, cook till brown, add tomatoes, prefer whole in juice, salt & pepper, crushed red pepper, simmer I hr. Easy pizzi!

                  1. Saute one large Chopped onion until soft in olive oil, not brown. Add a few smashed cloves of garlic ,saute for a minute, do not brown. Add large can (28 oz.) whole roma tomatoes hand crushed. Add cub of red wine. Season with basil, ital. seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer ....

                    Amounts may be varied, meat may be added if you wish.

                    1. I really think the snow is getting to me. I know your topic says exactly what you mean it to, but I saw something else. I could have sworn you were asking for a good marijuana recipe. I desperately need some sunshine.

                      4 Replies
                          1. re: rockycat

                            hahaha that's what I thought too! I just said that out loud to my husband before actually clicking on the thread. BTW I like my marinara the best (it's much like the above, with an onion and garlic and 2 big cans of tomatoes to one can of paste, the tiiiiniest pinch of sugar, oregano, basil and red chili flakes, I sautee the paste with the onions and garlic before adding the other tomatoes).