This post continues the roll of Italian recipes I have been posting this week. All of these recipes were created for a really good friend of my wife and mine. We were actually hosting a retirement party. 50 years old and retiring. A lot of living left to do. Her favorite meal was her birthday meal her mom would make – spaghetti and meatballs. So the true compliment to my Italian Meatballs would be the sauce, or gravy if you prefer. I decided to make a marinara sauce and not a meat sauce.
The key to me for this marinara sauce was to make it substantive. That meant that my aim was to make this sauce chunky. To accomplish this goal I needed to use real tomatoes. I also supplemented the roma tomatoes with crushed tomatoes. This really gave some texture to the sauce. The sauce was simmered to enable all the flavors to come out. The sauce has fresh herbs, plenty of spices and a little sugar to balance the acidity of all the tomatoes.
The sauce follows the traditional methods that your Nona, Italian grandmother, would use for making of a marinara sauce. The sauce begins with sautéing onions in olive oil. Then, various Italian seasonings are added as long as fresh oregano and garlic. The beauty of a marinara sauce is that the flavors are layered in and developed through a slow simmering process. A good marinara sauce needs to stand up on its own. This marinara recipe does just that.
The cast of characters.
The onions and spices added to the Dutch oven and followed with the tomatoes and fresh herbs.
The final marinara sauce plated.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 9 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Add the oil and onion to a Dutch oven and heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add the spices a few minutes into the cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and the fresh herbs and increase heat to high-medium to bring to a low boil.
- When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until most of the liquid from the tomatoes cooks off stirring often.
- Continue cooking until thickened to your liking and then remove from heat.
- Cook the sauce covered for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!