At my fiancée’s request, I made some “Italian pasta sauce”. Since I’m a big fan of Chef John, I searched his blog for a basic tomato sauce . . . and as always, the man delivered. I compared his recipe to the other two I have tried before, and of course, it’s like comparing dry apple pie to orange zest infused cobbler. What, to lame of an analogy?
Unfortunately, I was NOT able to get my hands on neither the main ingredient (San Marzano tomatoes) nor the secret ingredient (anchovy paste). I drove all over town looking for the tomatoes and paste, and nothing. Giant, Safeway, Trader Joes, you all suck!
Fortunately, however, the sauce tasted great despite my substitution and omission. I used regular canned tomatoes as the main ingredient instead of canned marzanos. And since I was already replacing the star of the show, I figured it was ok to not even bother with the anchovy paste. Also, I used 5 leaves of fresh basil from my garden even though the recipe did not call for any. I have so much basil in the garden, I’ll put it in anything. One more thing, since I prefer my sauce chunky, I didn’t mash it to a paste as recommended.
So I used:
- 2 cans (28-oz each) whole peeled tomatoes (the regular cheap-brand)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 tsp dried celery (I didn’t have the fresh celery it called for)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp chopped Italian parsley
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- water as needed
The sauce was damn good, despite my use of “generic” tomatoes and no secret ingredient. But because I’m dying to taste anchovy paste, I am driving 20 miles today to my nearest Wegmans to get it and try the recipe one more time. I’m glad I made it this way first because now I have something to compare it to.
Here is the video for making this sauce.