Peak of Perfection

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Pasta | 2 comments

Peak of Perfection


Imagine walking into your home and thinking you have landed in an Italian kitchen at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

A stash of homemade slow cooked marinara on hand means you are always ready to share that aromatic let’s eat moment with your family or guests.



The ingredients are basic, the San Marzano tomatoes are essential-- the outcome spoils you forever.

These superior tomatoes are picked at their peak in the Campania region of Italy, where they grow in volcanic soil.  I used to buy them by the case when they were on sale.  When Trader Joe’s began selling Cento tomatoes I lost my breath and took a photo of the towering display.

This distinct marinara sauce has become a staple in our freezer.

Pizza, Pasta, Mousakka, Braciole..... Eggs!








Natural sweetness from onion, carrot and red pepper balances the acidity of the tomatoes.








The onion is sauteed in oil for a couple of minutes on its own before adding the seasonings, chopped garlic, and remaining vegetables.

The purple carrots are amazingly sweet!

I cover the vegetables and let them sweat for 5-7 minutes.








The glistening peeled tomatoes are piled on top.








Normal people break the tomatoes up with their hands.  My less messy secret weapon is the edge of the tomato can.  Leave it attached by a few inches.  Bend it out and use the edge to chop the tomatoes.  They slice beautifully without bursting.








Is it safe?  Works for me... see?








Add the bay leaves and give it a stir before covering and simmering the sauce for an hour.








Select fresh herbs.  I use basil and oregano.








Cook a few more minutes before you apply the magic wand.








Pureeing it with an immersion blender which is less messy seals the deal—it becomes a luxurious tomato sauce worthy of eating right from the pot.







Return the sauce to a simmer.  Adjust seasonings  Let it simmer and bubble uncovered until thickened.

This will keep in the refrigerator for a week.  MP divides the sauce into portions designed for different dishes and vacuum packs it in his fancy machine.

Then he scolds me for not making colossal cauldrons of my scrumptious sauce.







Simply justified.

Basic Tomato Sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans Italian crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh oregano (optional)
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over moderate heat. Add onion; a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, celery, carrots and red pepper; then season with another pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer; cover and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally without browning them, until all the vegetables are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and bay leaves; simmer covered on low heat for at least an hour or until the tomatoes are soft. Remove bay leaves. Add basil, oregano and adjust seasoning.
  3. In a blender or using an immersion blender, blend sauce until thick and smooth. Return to simmer and continue to cook until thickened to desired consistency.
  4. Makes 6 cups
  5. © Copyright 2013 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  6. All Rights Reserved



  1. 5-17-2013

    Also added this one to my recipe box! Looks & sounds incredible!

  2. 5-18-2013

    Oh, glad to have this recipe. Now, if only the warm weather would arrive so I can plant those tomatoes!


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