Utilize a Superfood – Authentic Sicilian Marinara Sauce

Tomatoes are one of those foods that can be classified as a “super food” given their anti-oxidant levels and high volume of vitamins and essential minerals.  Taking in ample amounts of tomato may significantly reduce your risks for various cancers, including the often fatal, lung cancer.  They promote healthy vision and skin as well.  Finding a way to eat tomatoes that works for you is key.

Below is a recipe from a certain Sicilian grandmother.  This recipe was kept under lock and key for many years, but in her old age, she has relaxed her grip a little.  We both share the idea that we want to help people get healthy.  If sharing this recipe is going to get people eating healthier foods, mission accomplished.  The fact of the matter is this sauce will taste better than anything you’ve ever had.  For that reason alone, you will probably be buying tomatoes in bulk each week just to make this sauce fresh.  A good marinara sauce can be used on almost anything.  Pasta, rice dishes, vegetables, fish, meats, etc. 

  • 2.2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes.  (IF you can get San Marzano tomatoes, these are what you should use)
  • 2 ounces pork fatback
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/8 cup good quality, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano (dried if you must)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram (ditto)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves (dried will not do in this case)
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar if tomatoes are too acidic

1.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add all the tomatoes and blanch for about 3 minutes.  Remove and immediately plunge in a bowl of ice water.  Peel all the skins and remove the seeds and any tough pieces from inside the tomato.

2.  In a separate, small pot, add the olive oil, garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes.  Mash the garlic cloves before putting them into the pot.  Turn the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

3.   Strain the oil mixture in a separate bowl or pot, retaining the oil.  The flavors from the garlic and red pepper flakes have now permeated the olive oil.  Add the pork fatback to the larger pot.  Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until all fat has been rendered.  Add the carrot and onion.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add the flavored olive oil to the pot and lower the heat to medium.  Add the tomatoes and saute another minute.  Mash the tomatoes using a potato masher until they are fairly broken down. 

4.  Cover with a lid and simmer for at least 60 minutes over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently, but do not allow the pot to remain uncovered for very long.  Remove from heat and place in a blender.  Blend until very smooth.  Return to pot.  Add the herbs and spices and simmer another 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat. 

5.  Serve and enjoy!


7 thoughts on “Utilize a Superfood – Authentic Sicilian Marinara Sauce”

  1. Could you clarify — are the basil leaves supposed to remain whole? Chopped before adding to sauce? I’ve got the sauce made to this point and in the refrigerator waiting for instruction.

    1. Sorry for the delay…you could either chop them or leave them in bigger pieces, just whatever you prefer! I’d add some dry wine and more herbs if you found the sauce too sweet. Hope it turned out for you!

  2. Additionally, the sauce before addition of herbs and spices is extraordinarily sweet, with no acid. I used heirloom tomatoes from my own garden. I’m hoping the balance of ingredients will at least add complexity.

    Have you ever had this result? Any recommendations?

  3. Thank you so much! While rather more time-consuming than my canned-tomato usual, especially for me, as I had doubled the recipe because of a bumper crop of magnificent tomatoes; suspended and resumed operations because of my herbal insecurities; and sustained two rounds of blender-madness (several batches through the blender because of the quantity I made) because, having sampled the silky texture of the blended tomato mixture, I decided that I would not allow the herbal bits to destroy that texture. A generous quantity of cabernet puckered it up a bit — and the final result was an epiphany! Velvety, delicate yet powerful, more akin to creme brulee than to any other marinara of my experience!

    I think I’ll call it Botticelli, because the experience of it is like that of voluptuous inimitable art! Thank you, and here’s to the certain Sicilian grandmother who perhaps cooked for Dante in a previous life; her work has certainly made me want to wax poetic.

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