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September 25, 2007 / Tony

Marinara Sauce

I made Chicken Parmesan last night for three reasons, of which the third is the most important: 1)  I like it; 2) It’s a comfort food dish for me; and 3) I wanted to try out a new marinara sauce recipe that I saw on America’s Test Kitchen. 

The recipe is really interesting because the tomatoes are cooked without their juice for about 10 mintues.  This is different because usually, the tomatoes are only cooked in the can liquid.  Which means they are never cooked above 212 degrees.  Which means that they never have any chance to caramelize or even experience the Maillard reaction.  So by cooking the tomatoes first as dryly as you can, this recipe introduces a nice level of deepened flavor.  (Alton Brown tries a similar trick in this recipe.)  It was really a good marinara sauce and definitely worth trying at home.  Here’s the recipe:

Marinara Sauce, from America’s Test Kitchen

2 28 oz cans tomatoes

2 T olive oil 

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/3 cup dry red wine

3 T chopped fresh basil

1 T olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

1-2 T sugar, if needed

Pour tomatoes and juice into strainer set over large bowl. Open tomatoes with hands and remove and discard fibrous cores; let tomatoes drain excess liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup tomatoes from strainer and set aside. Reserve 2 1/2 cups tomato juice and discard remainder.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes from strainer and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring every minute, until liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to bottom of pan and brown fond forms around pan edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine and cook until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Add reserved tomato juice and bring to simmer; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and loosening browned bits, until sauce is thick, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer sauce to food processor (or transfer to saucepan and insert immersion blender; see the related article “Do You Really Need a Hand Blender?”) and add reserved tomatoes; process until slightly chunky, about eight 2-second pulses. Return sauce to skillet and add basil and extra-virgin olive oil and salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.



Leave a Comment
  1. Jessy / Sep 25 2007 11:59 pm

    wow, you mean you never made this because your little sister was coming over for dinner?? And I was going to say it was delicious!

    p.s. I got my app. sent off..thanks!

  2. Tony / Sep 26 2007 7:01 am

    No. . . I had already decided to make it before you showed up. I’m glad you liked it.

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