My grandmother on my mom’s side was a wonderful cook. She taught me a lot of what I know about cooking Italian food. She made some extraordinary dishes and our family celebrations made for some wonderful, memorable times. Every holiday the family would gather together and there would always be a ton of food on the table. Every holiday we’d all sit down to a fabulous meal and stuff ourselves full! Then we’d all sit around the table (because after all that food you couldn’t move), and say how there was too much food and we’d need to cut back for next holiday. The next holiday would come and it was literally a repeat of the holiday before. We never learned. One thing I can say for sure in my big Italian family is we always wanted to be sure we had enough food – especially if we had other people joining us for the holiday, party, celebration – whatever, unexpectedly. You think we’d learn – but no. To this day, I’m still always making way too much food. But it makes for great leftovers!!
As for my mom, she didn’t really like to cook. I’m not quite sure why, but her idea of dinner was reservations! (Love you mom!) She did teach me how to make a few things, but for the most part she kept things pretty simple and easy. Pasta and tomato sauce (or gravy to us Italians) was usually the go-to dish on any given night. And while my mom didn’t really like to cook, she made a really good tomato sauce. She was the one who taught me how to make homemade tomato sauce many years ago, and whenever I make sauce, I always think of that day together in the kitchen when I was a teenager and her showing me how it was done! Having lost my mom for 10 years now, it is a memory I will treasure forever.
I hope you will enjoy this delicious, traditional Italian tomato sauce from my family to yours!
Tomato Sauce/Marinara Sauce
3 cans (28 or 32 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes (pureed in a blender until liquidy and smooth)
3 cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
2 tsp. Onion Power
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Dried Crushed Rosemary
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 tsp. Dried Oregano
2 tsp. Dried Basil
1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1) In a large stock pot over medium-high heat olive oil and gently sautee garlic until golden brown, being careful not to burn the garlic (burnt garlic can leave a bitter taste and will ruin your entire pot of sauce).
2) Add pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.
3) Add all of your seasonings, adjusting more or less of each to achieve desired taste.
4) Mix well to incorporate all flavors.
5) Allow sauce to come to just a boil over medium heat stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t burn. Taste sauce to see if seasonings need to be added. Adjust seasonings as desired.
6) Turn down heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
7) Turn off heat and allow to cool down for about 1 hour. Spoon into smaller storage containers and freeze until needed or serve over pasta.