San Marzano Red Sauce

San Marzano Red Sauce
adapted from my mother

This astonishing red sauce has become my favorite and the cooking time is only 45 minutes! The end result is very fresh tasting and bursting with sweetness, offering maximum therapeutic tomato value. It’s comforting, enjoyable, simple, and may cause euphoria and elevated states of mood. I believe this phenomenon is due to the garlic and tomato not being overcooked, leaving their energy more in-tact in the final dish. This energy then enters your bloodstream through your digestive system.

The flavor and aroma of this sauce reminds me of expensive Italian restaurants in San Francisco. This recipe is convenient, healthy, and rustic, with skins and seeds left in. Yum! Unlike many traditional Italian sauce recipes, no onions or peppers are used--just garlic, bay leaf, dried oregano, fresh basil, and a few fennel seeds. This completely from-scratch sauce is made from 3 pounds of fresh tomatoes. The 45 minute cook time is broken into three 15 minute chunks. Thanks Mom--this is pure magic!

I’ve made this recipe with all types of tomatoes, often Romas. However, the ideal variety is San Marzano which has bright color, thin skins, high pectin, low acidity, superior flavor, and possible cancer-fighting properties. Dice 3 pounds of tomatoes, finely mince 3 large cloves of garlic, and off we go!

Saute 3 large cloves of fresh minced garlic in a large stainless steel pan (NO CAST IRON) with olive oil on very low heat for 15 minutes while stirring. Be very careful to not brown the garlic, and use more olive oil if needed. The garlic should still be white in the finished sauce, so watch to make sure the heat stays very low. The amazing aroma of the tenderly heated garlic bits in olive oil will reveal itself. By not browning the minced garlic this aroma and flavor is carried into the final sauce.

Add the diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, some dried oregano, some fresh chopped basil, ⅛ teaspoon of fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and cook for 15 more minutes on medium heat.

Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher and cook for the final 15 minutes. Amazingly, the simmering tomatoes break right down into a sauce!

Add more salt and pepper if needed for final seasoning, and remove the bay leaf. Serve on pasta with grated Parmisiano Regiano and possibly some Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, OR. This also makes a great sauce for pizza building.

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