January 4th is National Spaghetti Day, so whip up a batch of my San Marzano Tomato Sauce and seize the day!
San Marzano tomato sauce is perfect for January 4th because it’s National Spaghetti Day!!! Did you know there’s a food calendar that celebrates a different food for just about every day of the year? According to foodimentary.com, January 4th is National Spaghetti Day so, I’m going to make a big batch of this delicious sauce with some pasta!
Now you don’t have to be Italian to celebrate this national food holiday, but you can sure fake it if you make my San Marzano Sauce. My San Marzano Sauce is moderately thick and flavorful; if you choose to use it as a Pomodoro sauce, you simply need to season it lightly with a little salt and pepper and perhaps a sprig of fresh basil; however, if you want a thick “red gravy” sauce like you see in Italian movies, then use this recipe. It has added flavor with garlic, and Italian seasonings and works well with or without beef. Interestingly, I’ve found when I make a sauce with San Marzano tomatoes, I never need to add sugar–not even a pinch!
What is A San Marzano Tomato?
In order to make the best tomato sauce, use San Marzano tomatoes, which are Italian tomatoes grown in the volcanic grounds of Campania, near the Mount Vesuvius . They have a very distinct and rich flavor. Their elongated shape resembles what Americans know as “plum” tomatoes, but San Marzano tomatoes are less acidic and have fewer seeds than a conventional plum tomato.
How Do I Know If I’m Purchasing a True San Marzano Tomato?
In Italy, there are strict labeling rules regarding San Marzanos. The label must include the DOP, (the Italian protected designation of origin), which entails strict requirements for the growth and production of these red beauties. In American grocery stores, there are several brands that label their tomatoes as San Marzano on the front, but the ingredient list labels them as “San Marzano style tomatoes”. Tomatoes labeled as such are not true San Marzanos; it’s like buying a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag…it’s not the real deal. I can usually find Delallo Imported San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Cans, 28 oz on the very bottom shelf at the grocery store.
Look on the Label For D.O.P.
A true San Marzano tomato brand will include the DOP on the front and a round seal with a series of production numbers underneath. The front label might read something like, “San Marzano Tomato of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino area D.O.P” or “Pomodoro S. Marzano dell ’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino D.O.P.” The label will also indicate the product is produced and packed in Italy, as well as a statement of certification (in Italian). As one might expect, these Italian tomatoes cost more than the “San Marzano style” but the difference in taste is definitely worth the cost.
A taste of Italy in your own kitchen! San Marzano tomatoes make the most authentic pasta sauce.
- 2 28 oz. cans San Marzano Italian Tomatoes whole or diced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil good quality
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1 15 oz. can beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Italian herbs dried - OR -
- ¼ teaspoon of each: parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage and marjoram SEE RECIPE NOTES
- ½ teaspoon salt -or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper -or to taste
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
In a dutch oven, on medium temperature, add oil and onion; saute until onions are translucent
Puree tomatoes in food processor to desired consistency
Add pureed tomatoes to onions
Allow tomatoes to cook down for about 10 minutes then add broth and tomato paste
**If using dried herbs, add them now, along with the garlic and nutmeg
**If using fresh herbs, just add garlic and nutmeg for now
Allow sauce to simmer for 15 minutes; taste and season with salt and pepper;
Add fresh herbs and allow to cook for 5 minutes
Serve over warm pasta or refrigerate up to 5 days
- San Marzano tomatoes are so mild and flavorful, you could really do without any herbs if you prefer.
- Do not cook tomatoes in a cast iron skillet; the acidity interferes with the iron and gives off an unpleasant flavor.
- Fresh herbs make a big difference in most recipes, but if you're garden hasn't bloomed yet, dried will work as well. The ratio of fresh to dried is 3:1. If a recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of fresh, you'll need 1 teaspoon of dried (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon).
- Dried herbs are more potent than fresh, thus the 3:1 ratio. You'll want to add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking time; add dried at the beginning of cooking time.
You might want to serve a Caesar Salad and warm bread with this dish, too!