The delightful aroma of fresh spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove spreads through the kitchen sparking the senses into a frenzy. We don’t know about you, but we love a homemade sauce with our meatballs.
Even though it’s an easy dish to make, a real marinara is a labor of love that very people invest the time to make it correctly. If you don’t do it right, your sauce comes out bland and fails to accentuate the other flavors in the meal – instead, it’s like a wet tomato sitting on your plate soaking up the pasta.
Our chefs put together 15 recipe tricks for the next time you cook a batch of gravy. Follow these tips and make your marinara a smashing success at the dinner table. Your family won’t believe you’re capable of producing a restaurant-quality meal from scratch, but it’s easy when you know what you’re doing.
1. The Big Four
Every Italian chef understands the necessity of using quality ingredients in a sauce. When it comes to creating the perfect gravy, the masters rely on only four components in their dish — garlic, Olive oil, canned plum tomatoes, and basil form the backbone of any traditional marinara.
For the garlic, it’s recommended to bake a whole head of cloves in the oven before you add it to the sauce. Baking releases the flavor, allowing the taste and aroma to spread throughout the sauce. Drizzle the head of cloves with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 350F for 30-minutes. Remove the gloves and crush the contents into a paste.
The plum tomatoes from San Marzano, come from the nutrient-dense, volcanic soil around Naples. They’re renowned for their flavor and texture, and professional chefs won’t use any other tomato brand. Extra-virgin olive oil earns its place in hundreds of Italian dishes due to its unique flavor characteristics and basil rounds off the sauce with a beautiful taste and aroma.