Friday, March 18, 2011

Brandywine Marinara Sauce

A quick stop at my favorite farm stand always provides me with the answer to the age-old question, "What's for Dinner?"  When I spied those beautiful Brandywine heirlooms; I knew what I'd be having!

I've been waiting and waiting for the tomatoes to appear.  It's so funny because every time I go Kathy beats me to the punch and says, "They are not ready yet, and I can't control the weather."  Hey it doesn't hurt to ask again.

I made a larger batch of sauce so I can make two meals out of it, just an easy way to get ahead in the kitchen especially when you know your time will be short.  I used half of the Marinara sauce on top of some three cheese raviolis and the rest on a pork braciole.  I will share both of those recipes with you shortly.

Brandywine Marinara Sauce
5 lbs. Brandywine tomatoes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped, finely (note the beautiful specimens I found at the market)
2 carrots, grated
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces tomato paste
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

First you need to get the skin off the tomatoes. I cut mine in half and lay them on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment or a silpat for easy removal and even easier clean up.  Place them in a 400 degree oven for 10 -12 minutes, cool for a few minutes and slip the skins off.  Squeeze them over a strainer and get the seeds out.  Make sure and reserve all the juices.  I crush the tomatoes up with my hands.

Heat a large stockpot on medium-low and add olive oil.  Add chopped onions, carrots and celery to pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, till cooked down and soft, if they are getting brown, turn down heat.  Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.

Add crushed tomatoes and juices, salt and pepper.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes.  Add the chopped basil after sauce is finished if you want the freshest flavor.  I added a tablespoon or so of sugar because my sauce was a little acidic.




  1. Hi Gina, I am growing brandywine tomatoes in my garden this year and just used your recipe for a big batch of "gravy". I did something my italian grandmother and mom used to do to reduce acidity - instead of grating the carrots, i threw two whole peeled carrots in the sauce while it was simmering and removed them and threw them away when the sauce was done reducing. The carrots impart some sweetness to the sauce and (according to family legend) absorb the acid. I think that helped as I also noticed that the sauce was pretty acidic at the beginning, but had balanced out by the end.

  2. Thanks for the tip, I'm going to try that next time I make my sauce which should be in a week or so. Plus it will save me from having to wash the grater. Thanks again for the tip.