About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006
Marinara Sauce
Long time readers of this blog would know I'm a fan of Lidia's Table, hosted by the warm Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. Due to the time it's on I don't always get to see it, but the other day we tuned in just as she was preparing Marinara sauce.

Now I've always thought of marinara sauce as a seafood combination sauce, but the version Lidia made was simply tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, chile and basil. As is her way, she went on to use the sauce as a basis for three different recipes.

I looked up marinara sauce to see what was going on and Wikipedia tells me that the name comes from alla marinara, Italian for sailor style and its use is confined to the United States, whereas in Italy, marinara sauce does in fact refer to a seafood sauce, with or without tomato. However The Italian Chef says this sauce comes from Naples and was made for sailors returning from the sea. Since just about all the recipes I checked were for a tomato based sauce sans seafood and because the root of the word is Italian, I'm thinking that marinara sauce with seafood is a recent interloper and probably another adaption of this much loved sauce that doesn't seem to complain about whatever ingredients are used, though the simple version that Lidia made stuck in my mind as one worth trying.

I actually made the sauce from memory the other day for the first time, though I didn't use any basil because I didn't see her use it and there was no chile in mine, so that our daughter could eat it. The thing that most stuck in my mind about Lidia's version was the enormous amount of garlic she used and that there was no onion whatsoever. So mine was essentially tomato, garlic and olive oil plus a little seasoning.

If you would like to see Lidia's marinara sauce, try here. Certainly, the next time I make it, I will follow her recipe, especially the part where she thins the sauce down so that the pasta can finish cooking in the sauce, thus absorbing more flavour. What I found with this sauce was that it was incredibly easy to make, taking no more time to cook than the pasta, and it had plenty of flavour.

Marinara Sauce

1 400 g (14 oz) tin diced tomatoes
4 or 5 fat cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
pinch chile flakes (optional)
salt & fresh ground pepper

Warm the oil in a pot and sweat the garlic until it just colours, add the tomatoes, chile flakes if using and season. Simmer for ten minutes and pour over the pasta.
  posted at 11:27 am

At 2:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess I've always known this as a simple tomato sauce but the word would seem like it would be from the sea..

At 2:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand marinara to be the term commonly used for a seafood sauce based on tomato while the version without the tomato sauce - generally just oil and garlic, maybe a touch of cream - is pescatora. But I could be wrong.

At 5:11 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, it sure is pretty simple and I think that is the charm of it. In Oz if you ask for marinara, you would expect to get seafood, apparently the word marinara derives from the Italian for sailor, marinaio.

Hi kitchen hand, I was with you until a couple of weeks ago on the marinara, but everywhere I looked marinara sauce is without seafood - blame Lidia! It does sound as if it should have seafood in it

At 4:39 am, Blogger lobstersquad said...

I´ve always been very confused by the marinara name. Italian is very similar to Spanish, and Italian restaurants here do a mishmash of languages that is even more confusing, so we have marinara with or without tomatoes, as the whim of the chef dictates.
your sauce is great, whatever the name.

At 8:50 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi lobstersquad, ahh, the Romance languages - I love the sound of them, if only I could speak them, but sadly my wife always laughs at my pathetic attempts to even roll an Rrrrr! I wonder if one day a chef looked at this simple tomato sauce and thought "It sounds like the sea, let's make it taste like the sea too."


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