Wednesday, June 3, 2009

San Marzano Tomato Sauce - Homemade

homemade marinara tomato sauceI thought I'd show everyone how I make my family's favorite pasta sauce. I use this sauce for everything - pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed shells, eggplant/chicken/veal parmesan, meat sauce.

I even use it as a base for my chili.


san marzano tomatoesI start with a huge can of San Marzano Tomatoes. They are, without question, the very best. Some good brand names to look for are Cento, Muir Glen, Tuttorosso, or any San Marzanos that list "DOP" on the label (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta).


huge onionI also chop one large Spanish onion, and mince 5-6 big cloves of garlic


puree whole plum tomatoesI like to buy whole tomatoes and process them myself.  Today I'm pureeing these tomatoes because I have a picky eater who doesn't like chunky tomatoes.  A blender or food mill can also be used.

food mill tomatoes for sauceIf the kids are around, they like to help me crank the tomatoes through a food mill. They think it's fun.


pureed tomatoesAfter the tomatoes are processed or blended or milled, you end up with pureed tomatoes that look like this. Set them aside for now.


using the oil from sun dried tomatoesOkay, in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over med-high heat, I saute the onions in olive oil until they are nice and caramelized.


I also add 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper. You have to season every step of the way.


caramelized onionsYum. These onions are going to add an incredible depth of flavor to the sauce.


adding garlic to sauteed onionsNow I can add the minced garlic. I don't add it earlier because it would burn and taste bitter. I Saute the garlic with the onions for just about 30-60 seconds, stirring well so the garlic doesn't burn. As soon as that wonderful garlicy aroma fills the kitchen...


now add the tomato paste
...I add a whole can of tomato paste and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until the tomato paste darkens and starts to caramelize (again, adding an incredible depth of flavor).


caramelizing tomato paste
Here's a little tip - keep a cup of water (or a splash of red wine) near the stove top. The minute you notice any spots getting too brown - like you see here at 10 O'clock...


quick tip to prevent burning...add a splash or two (excuse the steam). It will bubble up and dissolve the spot and keep your food from burning.  The technical term for this is called "deglazing".


See - the liquid evaporated and the dark spot is all gone- nothing burned.
:)


Okay, time to add the reserved tomato puree and most of the remaining ingredients (everything except the fresh basil). Simmer for about an hour. Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the fresh basil.

I hope you'll give this sauce a try.  Let me know how you like it.
Enjoy!





San Marzano Pasta Sauce

makes about 12 cups - enough to feel a big Italian family with plenty of leftovers!

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 jumbo onion, diced
5-6 garlic cloves (pressed, crushed, or minced)
1/2 tsp salt (or half as much table salt)
1/2 tsp pepper

6 oz can tomato paste
6 lb can San Marzano whole tomatoes (pureed until smooth in food processor, blender, or food mill)
3 tbsp dried parsley
4 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (kids might find this amount a tad spicy - adults usually love it - I double it)
*Fresh basil, chopped or torn (as much as you like, but don't add until serving)

Over med-high heat, saute onions, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in olive oil until caramelized (I save the leftover oil from jarred sun-dried tomatoes to use for things like this). Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and caramelize for 3-5 minutes; stirring constantly. Add pureed tomatoes, bay leaves, dried oregano, dried basil (don't add the fresh basil yet), red pepper flakes, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper; stir to combine. Simmer on low for about an hour. Remove bay leaves. Add fresh basil just before serving.

Note: you can simmer this sauce longer if you like, but you don't need to. I like to add Italian sausages, or ground beef that has been browned with lots of onion and garlic. If you happen to have a rind of Parmesan cheese leftover, throw that in too (it won't really melt into the sauce, but it will add a lot of great flavor).










85 comments:

  1. Someone else who swears by San Marzano! That's my family's canned tomato of choice, as well. In Canada they cost a bit more but it is well worth it.

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  2. Yummmmm... I can smell it from here... crunchy bread to dip in that sauce would be PERFECT!!!
    BTW... pop over... I think you will be glad you did!
    ENJOY!
    Fifi

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  3. This looks excellent. I have posted a marinara sauce today also. I have never used San Marzano tomatoes, for our recipe we used our own homegrown tomatoes, so what is it about San Marzano?

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  4. We all love pasta here at our house, and this sauce looks and sounds delicious!

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  5. Gosh, that looks most excellent. A perfect sauce for pasta. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day.

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  6. Looks really good. Perfect for pasta lovers like us! Thanks for the recipe...Christine

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  7. Fifi must live close to me because I can smell it too! Yummo! You are making me hungry.

    Your pictures are awesome as always.

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  8. Hi Newlyweds. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    To answer your question, I guess your own tomatoes would be best, but I'm not a gardener so I use canned. San Marzano tomatoes are prized for their super sweet flavor and low acid content.... has something to do with the place in Italy where they're grown. They're really superb!!!

    Take care,
    ButterYum

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  9. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog.I sure will visit you again since I discovered many a nice recepie in your blog and lovely pictures.

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  10. Thanks for the tip about the brown spots. Your sauce looks delish! I'm going to try those tomatoes.

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  11. What a great post, looking forward to making your sauce!

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  12. Thanks so much for the visit .... I am NOT even going to ask how you came up with your blog name.

    My youngest son is a chef in MN at a huge hotel and casino resort .... I love it when he comes to visit me ~ I never cook, he does.

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  13. With Ragu and the other pasta sauces, people don't do it anymore - -they just open a jar -- yours looks really good -- in fact, I'm craving a big bowl of pasta and sauce right now!

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  14. Hi Helen. ButterYum?... well, it just came to me (after about a zillion other blog names, but ButterYum was a keeper since I'm a baker who loves to use real butter!).

    How nice to have a son for a chef. I lived in MN for 6+ years... nothing better to do in the winter than cook ;).

    Take care!
    ButterYum

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  15. Martha - I promise you that this sauce is way way way better than anything jarred... I PROMISE! Just as long as you use the tomatoes I suggest... other canned tomatoes just simply are not as good.

    Take care,
    ButterYum

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  16. That sounds like an amazing sauce. Thanks for the tutorial and recipe. And thank you for stopping over at my blog and for your sweet comment. Hugs, ~cindy s~

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  17. Wow, now that looks good! I'll have to try that for our next Italian night.

    Oh to answer your question, I basically tweaked a sugar cookie recipe that I've used for a while so in a way, yes and no on having a recipe on hand. I don't know if that made sense... ;-)

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  18. My Italian heritage just went crazy....I've GOT TO MAKE THIS SAUCE!!! Linda

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  19. What great looking sauce that is. I have never heard of the brand San Marzano, I don't think I have ever seen it on our grocery shelves but will look for it the next time I go shopping.

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  20. San Marzano tomatoes are the variety. They are packed by several manufactures. You can find them at Costco, and in high end or gourmet grocery stores. Some restaurant supply places may have them, and you might try nicer Italian restaurants as well.

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  21. Our favorite recipe is almost identical! Only difference is a shot or two of dry red wine. You've inspired me. I'm thinking Sunday dinner here... Nancy

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  22. Hi Nancy Jane - Great minds must think alike! A shot or two of red wine certainly does bump this up a notch!

    :)
    Have a great weekend,
    ButterYum

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  23. I've been looking for a great pasta sauce and yours sounds wonderful - thank you so much! Love the photo tutorial!

    ~Susan

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  24. I guess we will be having italian for dinner tonight! I hope you had a happy Foodie Friday and are having a great weekend ~ Susan

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  25. Oh my gosh, I can smell it sitting here...

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  26. oh, those herbs and spices would make for such an amazing sauce! i'm totally on a homemade kick these days, so i appreciate this post! break out the pasta. :)

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  27. This sounds like the best sauce in the whole world. I can't wait to make it!
    XX 00

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  28. Great pictures! I'm going to have to give it a try!

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  29. Hi Patricia,

    I am soooo happy you posted this one! First it's a family recipe so it's already special, and it's from you so I know it's going to be fantastic!

    Laura

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  30. I couldn't agree more, San Marzano tomatoes are the best- they make a big difference in the end result. Use the ones imported from Italy, not the domestically-grown yet same varietal, they are not the same. Loved reading this post!

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  31. I also will use only San Marzano tomatoes and the sauce I make is used for all I need sauce for too. I add some pesto, a little lemon juice and some fresh grated parmesean to my sauce on top of the other herbs and spices.

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  32. I've been looking for a recipe for homemade tomato sauce..this looks great...thanks!

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  33. It looks like GRAVY to me !!

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  34. Huh, I was wondering what we were going to have for dinner tonight! Now I know :)

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  35. Hi Pat

    I was wondering could this sauce be frozen, if so, how long.

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  36. Hi Jackie - I don't see why not. I'd say 3 months in a standard freezer bag, but longer if you have a vacuum sealer. It's really good stuff.

    Have a great weekend!
    :)
    ButterYum

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  37. I have frozen this sauce and everytime I've unthawed it, it was just as wonderful as the day I made it. I'm about to make another batch today. This is a fantastic receipe.

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  38. LOVE this recipe. I've made it once before and I've got a pot simmering right now! Thanks so much for sharing it.

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  39. I'm so glad you decided to give this recipe a try Susan. Thanks for letting me know how much you like it!

    Take care,
    :)
    ButterYum

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  40. Made it for the second time tonight. Wonderful! Thanks!!!

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  41. Forgot to add:

    Beautiful pictures and easy to follow tutorial!

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  42. Oh great - thanks so much for letting me know how much you like it!

    :)
    ButterYum

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  43. This looks wonderful! I make pizza every Friday but we don't put sauce on it. My family has hinted to maybe trying it with sauce. I think we will have to try yours on it. Thanks for sharing. Denise

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  44. I made this sauce, but I couldn't find San Marzano tomatoes, just California ones. However, the sauce was so tasty and my house smelt amazing. This is the best tomato sauce I've had. Thanks again for a great recipe!

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  45. I live in Vermont and the grocery stores here almost never have the real San Marzano canned tomatoes... so a little over a month ago I was like a kid on Christmas morning... I found them... they cost me almost $6.00 a can. I bought two and have held onto them until now.... I finally have found a recipe worth trying. Even though it is 90* out I cant wait... I am making it now! Thank you for sharing, and making it so easy to follow. GREAT JOB!

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  46. Hi Kelly - you are most welcome! I hope you'll let me know how you like the recipe. Leftovers freeze beautifully, btw.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  47. Great article here and the tips are very comprehensive. For sure many entrepreneurs with small and big businesses are going to benefit from this. Keep it up!

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  48. Mine ends up a little watery, should I drain the tomatoes add more tomato paste, or simply simmer it longer?

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  49. Hi Dean - not knowing what brand of tomatoes you're using, and if time isn't a factor, I'd simmer it longer to allow the extra water evaporate. But if I were in a hurry, extra tomato paste should do the trick.

    I don't drain the tomatoes - I puree them in a blender or food mill or food processor, juice and all. Some people like to "rinse" the tomato can with a bit of water that's then added to the sauce, but I skip the water and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape all the goodness out of the can instead.

    Hope that helps. I made a big batch of this sauce yesterday and will use it to make lasagna tomorrow. If it doesn't rain and I manage to take a good photo, I'll post it soon.

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  50. Patricia,
    Thanks for the advise. I purchased a mozzarella cheese making kit from www.cheesemaking.com and it turned out awesome! So easy and 30 min. I plan on making lasagna tomorrow with your sauce and homemade mozzarella....Can't wait!

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  51. Excellent - I've been meaning to try my hand a making mozzarella, but haven't gotten around to it. I hope you enjoy the process. I'm sure your lasagna will be wonderful.

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  52. This sauce is excellent! I've made it twice and it is a huge hit. This will be my go-to sauce recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing!!

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  53. Oh Great! I'm so glad you like it. Have a great week!

    :)

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  54. i doubted that i was EVER going to make a pasta sauce i loved. UNTIL now. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i didnt have san marzanos anywhere in my town but i found some really lovely tomatoes by full red? never heard of them before but they were delicious. I love this recipe thank you so much!!!

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  55. I was reading about San Marzano termaters and it seems like I need to try them. Found your recipe, and that is what I will try first. Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed recip, and the tip about finding them at Costco. Will report back in a couple of days. My first thought was sauce Bolognese, but this seems like a bettter place to start.

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  56. I really enjoy making sauces from scratch! Can you freeze this one?

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  57. Yes, you certainly can freeze this sauce.

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  58. Doesn't look like the picture is the Cento San Marzano-certified tomatoes that are in my store. That can looks like their regular whole peeled italian-style tomatoes that say they are from San Marzano, but not the DOP certified authentic SM tomatoes. The SM tomatoes say certified on the can and look like this: http://www.cento.com/product/centoproducts.html

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  59. Thank you for pointing that out - you're lucky to have your own supply! These may not be exactly the same as the certified SMs, but they are better than most canned tomatoes, and they make a truly wonderful sauce.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  60. I'm making this sauce for my wife and I right now as I type. So far, so good. It smells wonderful! We're making a lasagna with all local made ingredients including cheese, pasta, and even locally raised ground beef. Can't wait. Thanks for the recipe!

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  61. Excellent - I hope you like it. Let me know how it turns out.

    :)

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  62. I'm looking forward to trying this -- I bought the giant costco can months ago and was searchign for a recipe just like this one. One question: if i wanted to add some other veg like peppers or mushrooms, is it best to saute them on their own and then add after the fact. Or would I add them at the beginning with the onions?
    Thanks!

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  63. Hi Christina - you could do it either way. I'd probably saute them on their own, so they get nice and caramelized, especially the mushrooms - yummo!

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  64. What a beautiful tutorial. You have inspired me. First, I bought and planted heirloom San Marzano seeds...oh, how I pray they will grow. I fell in love with San Marzanos from a different recipe...I think from your blog. Secondly, what type of food mill is that? I hope not terribly expensive. It looks stainless and that is what I'm after. I don't want to pull out the food processor to make fresh sauce. This looks like you can pop it in the dishwasher. I'm going to buy a few cans soon and try this. Thanks so much. (I do have a recipe we love, but this looks exciting!) ~Lover (well, wife) of an Italian

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    1. Hi - yes, my food mill is stainless and dishwasher safe :). It was purchased through the Chef's Catalog several years ago. I sometimes use my blender to puree the tomatoes, and I've even used my immersion blender (stick blender) once or twice. I hope your San Marzanos grow - that would be awesome!!

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  65. It's on the stove. Looks, smells, tastes...outstanding. I have a question though: do you add the left over juice from the can? I did not and it's super thick. Thanks!

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    1. Great question - yes, I add the juice from the can. So glad you like the sauce!! :)

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  66. I was wandering. I just bought a case of San Marzano tomato pase. I mix 1 can paste with 3 cans water and 1 can chicken broth. Do yo think this would be rather different than the whole SM tomatoes. I really mean the paste VS the whole tomatoes.

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  67. Hi Sam - I can tell you this, when I was a new bride with no moola, I would sometimes make pasta sauce out of diluted tomato paste, and it was pretty darn tasty. A friend asked me to share my "recipe" with her and I didn't because I was kind of embarrassed to tell her I used a .25 can of paste. Wow, prices have sure gone up since then.

    Anyway, please let me know how it turns out for you. Incidentally, where in the world did you find SM paste??

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  68. Here is there E-MAIL address
    sanmarzano@monmouth.com
    I wrote them a message and they were very helpful. There order form was a little confusing. But I got my order when they said.
    This is there home page. http://www.sanmarzanoimports.com/ I hope this helps.. SAM

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  69. Oh, and you didn't tell me if you think there would be a difference in taste between the SM paste and the SM whole tomatoes.

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  70. I wish I knew, but I've never tried SM paste. It'll obviously be more concentrated in flavor until you dilute it ;). Let me know how you like it. And thanks for the link!!

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  71. I've been wanting to make my own sauce for a while. I can't wait to check this out!

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  72. My grandson and I grew San Marzano's this summer, with the express intent of making marinara. This Thursday, we start the sauce!! Can't wait to try your recipe.

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  73. I just printed out your recipe. I can't wait to make it this week! I'll come back and let you know how it turned out. Thanks so much for sharing. I've been searching for the "perfect" sauce recipe. I hope the search will be over....as this one certainly looks amazing. Blessings~~angela

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  74. Couldn't wait....I made it last night to have this evening for dinner. I'm surprised we have any left. The sauce finished up after putting the kids to bed. My husband and I had to "test taste" by dipping some home made bread into it. It is FABULOUS!!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Blessings~~angela

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    1. Hi Angela - you totally made my day and put a big smile on my face! I'm so glad you liked my recipe. And by the way, it tastes even better a day or two later, after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

      Take care, Patricia

      PS - stay tuned because I'll be publishing another favorite sauce recipe soon... and it's even easier to make than this one.

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  75. I have a fabulous "Sunday Gravy" recipe already, but it's pretty similar to yours. The one I have now does not use the San Marzano tomatoes and I've been wanting to use them to make it and see how it turns out. Your post here has inspired me to finally do that and see if I can see a big difference. Thanks for the great pictures and the push to try something I keep meaning to but just haven't managed to yet. This is in my dinner plan for Tuesday night (two days before Thanksgiving so I can eat it for a couple of days while I prepare Thanksgiving dinner).

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    1. Great game plan - I hope you like the tomatoes! And have a blessed Thanksgiving!!

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  76. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It's in its final simmering stages, now, and the house smells wonderful and it tastes delicious! (I've perhaps taste-tested it a little too much, but it's so good I can't help it.) The san marzano tomatoes really DO make a difference (and not something I knew before reading your blog), and carmelization of the onions, garlic, and tomato paste truly adds a depth of flavor that I haven't found before in a home-made sauce. Outstanding! This will be my go-to sauce.

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    1. Happy-Happy. I'm so glad you like my recipe - it was years in the making ;).

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  77. I tried your recipe for the first time today and my Wife and I were both very pleased,the San marzano tomatoes definetly make a difference. I've been lookin for a good sauce recipe for a good while and this is a Winner,Thank you very much,will be my go to recipe now for sauce!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hawk615 - You made my night! Thanks for letting me know how much you like my recipe. Take care!!

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