This basic marinara — calling for only five ingredients — is proof of how little is needed to deliver satisfying flavor. Some cooks sweeten their sauce to balance the tomatoes’ acidity, but I don’t find this hack necessary. Raw tomatoes may start out a little bitter, but that acerbity disappears all on its own if the sauce is left to simmer long enough. Bonus: This recipe doubles as a pizza sauce with the addition of a little dried oregano! — H. Weal
6 medium garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups crushed tomatoes
3 sprigs basil (about 12 large leaves)
2-quart pot with lid
measuring cups and spoons
1. Peel and mince garlic.
2. Combine oil and garlic in pot over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic until golden – about 1 minute.
3. Add salt and tomatoes, then stir until well-combined. Lower heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 45 minutes.
4. Rinse basil thoroughly and then chop.
5. Stir chopped basil into sauce. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce has mellowed to your liking.
NOTES & TIPS
• 6 medium (or 3 large) garlic cloves yield about 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
• No fresh garlic on hand? Use 2 teaspoons garlic powder.
• No fresh basil on hand? Use 2 teaspoons dried basil.
• This recipe is a great way to use up leftover tomato halves or mealy tomatoes. Just chop ‘em up and throw ‘em in!
• If the sauce reduces too quickly (begins sticking to the pot), reduce heat to low for the remainder of the simmering time.
• BONUS RECIPE: Pizza Sauce: Add 2 teaspoons dried oregano during Step 3.
1 quart (eight 1/2 cup servings)