Winter Marinara Sauce

Adapted from Lidia Bastianich via the New York Times (The accompanying article about traditional Marinara sauce is great!)


  • 1 32 oz jar of crushed heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • Small dried whole chile pepper or several dried poblanos
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste


In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.

As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chile, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.

Place basil sprig (if using), including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Remove and discard basil and chile (if using).

YIELD Makes about 3 1/2 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta