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Robust Italian Tomato Sauce

This is a mouthwatering, flavor-rich red sauce, heavy on garlic, spices, and wine. Use certified San Marzano canned tomatoes from Italy, as their sweet flavor is unsurpassed. For added richness, we deglaze our pan with a bit of Pinot Noir. I make this sauce both with or without meat. I much prefer this sauce to be puréed (before adding meat if using) for the velvety smooth texture. I also prefer using dried spices for this sauce, as they steam in the aromatic wine for a delish payoff. Save your fresh spices for garnish or addition right before serving time. Serve this over any pasta, here layered in a lasagna. An elegantly pungent, yet smooth sauce, a nice depth of flavor without having to simmer it for hours. I purée the sauce as a velvety texture works best with all the flavors and textures.

You can usually find me with a bowlful of nothing but this fab sauce and some bread. Hope it elevates your sauce "experience", how ever you decide to make or serve it....let me know how you make it magically yours. 💋

Prep Time: 15 minutes Yield: 8-10 cups sauce (more if meat/substitute added)


1 large yellow onion, medium chopped

6 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Pinot Noir (use something definitely drinkable, but not expensive)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (if you don't like fennel, leave out, but I think this spice really makes the sauce...the flavor is extraordinary...a famous pizza place uses a bit of fennel in theirs, won't tell who😝 )

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Three (3) 28 ounce cans San Marzano Peeled tomatoes in juices, mashed with hands or fork before adding to sauce. As a culinary instructor told me, impeccably clean hands are wonderful kitchen tools.

1 tablespoon butter

1 pound ground chuck or meat substitute, if using, cooked

Fresh herbs for garnish


In large heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium low heat, add the olive oil, stir for 20-30 seconds, then add in the onions. Increase heat slightly, cook a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add in the minced garlic, being careful not to burn it. Stir well, scraping the bottom as you stir (use a wooden spoon, if possible, due to the deglazing stage ), reduce heat if needed so as to not burn aromatics (the onions and garlic 🥰). On top of the onions, sprinkle in the dried oregano, basil, fennel, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Allow the mixture to steam for several seconds, then pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Deglaze the pan by using your wooden spoon or spatula to mix in the wine, while also scraping the bottom of the pan for those yummy aromatic jewels that remain at the bottom of the pan. Look at you, all fancy! 🤗

Continue to stir the mixture, over medium heat, for a minute, then add the 3 cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Stir in the sugar and adjust for salt.

Increase the heat slightly, and allow to simmer for an hour.

Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Purée with a stick immersion blender, then let rest a few minutes. If adding meat, stir in now. Top with the tablespoon of butter.

Look at that beautiful sauce!!! Serve and enjoy. If you have the time, let the sauce rest in the refrigerator a few hours for the flavors to meld.

Sauce is at its peak one day after making, as the flavors meld when stored in the refrigerator overnight. Store up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

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