True Artisanship

Almost Perfected My Spaghetti alla Marinara

One of my passions is cooking, and getting my Marinara sauce right is one of my principal quests at the time. In this blog post I reveal how different ingredients and small variations from the usual can make a difference. Today’s effort was delicious.

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Daniele perfecting his Marinara sauce
Daniele is peeling the tomatoes one at a time as their skin starts cracking at different times.

Tonight I finally feel like I am at home in my new kitchen. After spending a few months getting to know the stove, I have found my balance and tonight I also made a Marinara sauce that was really delicious.

The Marinara is almost ready.
The Marinara sauce is almost ready. That’s the right time to add the olives and capers, which don’t need to cook.

It started with the selection of the ingredients. Instead of buying my Roma tomatoes (Perini) at Trader Joe’s I bought them at Sprout. I don’t necessarily think that the tomatoes are better, but they are meatier and less watery and 20 tomatoes will yield enough sauce for a pound of spaghetti. The other key pick was the Parmigiano Reggiano. I never use Grana and I always buy imported. I try to select one that has been aged for two years if I can find it. What I got a Trader Joe’s (their most expensive) was good and it paid off. Finally, the olive selection. I have tried just about anything on the shelves at Trader Joe’s and some other stores and the best pick for the Marinara sauce is the can of pitted black olives. I hate buying canned products, and the olives in some of the jars are delicious, but too flavorful. The olives for this sauce need to simply taste like olives–a subtle taste.

This Spaghetti alla Marinara meets the approval of my most critical customer.
Chiara loves my Marinara sauce. The proof is in the fact that she can eat a couple of bites before asking for dessert.

Boiling, peeling, cutting up, mushing the tomatoes takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. This time, instead of salting the water, I added salt and a bit of pepper to the sauce. I think that it made a difference. I also added three cut-up anchovies and the result was a dense red sauce, tastier than usual, but still a subtle, not bold, pleasure to eat.

The only complaint I heard was that I should have cut up the olives. I didn’t because the recipe doesn’t say to cut them up. Next time I will cut them up in half and see.

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One reply on “Almost Perfected My Spaghetti alla Marinara”

I just have to add that this marinara is NOTHING like the boring plain old “marinara” sauces you see in the store shelves. It is richer, fresher, and more complex in flavor, and it’s one of my favorite dishes!

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