Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Alysha's Marinara Magnifica

Every disloyalty is wrong but worse is cheating on your mom with another tomato sauce! Especially when your stepdad is Italian, Sicilian no less, and you grew up in an Italian neighborhood and your family is practically assimilated! An Italian woman's tomato sauce is her legacy to be passed on and made by her children! I have disgraced the family...I will live in shame...

Okay so I exaggerated just a little bit....I had you going didn't I....

I LOVE my mom's tomato sauce - especially with meatballs and flax spaghetti! When I was living at home, we had it for lunch almost every Sunday for as long as I can remember. There is no other tomato sauce for me but I was itching to try something new. I thought, if I'm going to cheat better make it good! I came across Alysha's tomato sauce on the message boards and again on her blog. It has gotten rave reviews and landed her in the magazine Cooking Light so I decided to give it a try.

After simmering for 4 hours it was thick, earthy, and sweet. Very different from what I'm used to but good just the same. We served it over mushroom ravioli. While it's a little too sweet for our taste, this would make an excellent pizza sauce and I intend to make it again for just that!

Alysha's Marinara Magnifica

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar (if you don't like a sweet sauce, you can skip this part - the onions will still caramelize nicely)
3-4 medium onions, chopped
~1 cup cup dry red wine*see notes below
6 cloves garlic, crushed with the blade of a knife
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add chopped onions and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sauté onions for 30-45 minutes, or until sweet and caramelized. As the pan dries while onions are cooking, add red wine as needed. Once onions are done, continue to add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well-combined. Simmer over low heat for 4-6 hours (you can simmer for less, but I would simmer for at least 1-2 hours). Stir often to keep the sauce from burning or getting overcooked. If you like your suace chunky, leave it as is. However, I like mine smooth, so I use my immersion blender to puree the sauce and make it smooth.

Makes about 9 cups of sauce.

*wine note: I use one of those little 4-pack bottles of wine. I use a bit during the caramelization of the onions if the pan begins to get too dry and then I dump the rest in later.

More notes: This sauce is meant to be very basic so that you can use it as a base for many, many things. Add more crushed red pepper for a spicy sauce. Add more dried herbs or fresh herbs for a zestier sauce. Add a splash of balsamic, and on and on.


Alysha said...

Erin - I had a feeling it was too sweet for you when you mentioned using it as pizza sauce. You're not the only one! :) You might want to try leaving out the sugar and upping the herbs to make a more savory sauce. Or do you think it's the caramelized onions?

erinlovesmarc said...

I think I'm going to try to make it again...Marc made it since he was on vacation this week and I have a feeling he may have goofed something...I don't think it was the onions because we love caramelized onions...I think there wasn't enough liquid in the sauce for one, it definitely needed some water...I think he forgot to put in the can of diced tomatoes by accident and it was super thick - we like thick sauces but it was way too thick...I will try again in the next few weeks and let you know...I still love your sauce so don't worry!

Anna said...

Thanks for reminding me! I have a cup of red wine to use up and I keep meaning to try this.