Mother, May I?

My mom loves to give me cookbooks as gifts.

And let me tell you, I have quite the collection.

But when my mom gave me my signed copy of The Elixir of Life by Lisa Dahl, I could tell this cookbook was something different. The pages in this oversized book are adorned with amazing pictures of Tuscany and even more enticing pictures of Italian dishes. These recipes just HAD to be good!

After drooling all over this book for three months, tonight I was finally able to bring the pages to life.  And Lisa’s marinara did not disappoint.

Thanks mom, don’t mind if I do!

The Mother Sauce

Marvelous Marinara - THE MOTHER SAUCE

What You Need

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped Bermuda onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil coarsely chopped
  • 1-28 oz can of top quality Italian or Cal-Ital tomatoes with sauce (Lisa recommends San Marzano)
  • 2 1/2 cups water

What To Do

  1. Place the red peppers in a food processor and pulse to achieve a coarse chunky dice. Remove and add onion and pulse to the same consistency.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a stockpot and heat it until its smoking. Allow the saute process enough time to caramelize the peppers and onions before adding the garlic. As the golden rustic color of the vegetables stains the oil, the garlic can be stirred in and the flame lowered to prevent burning the garlic.
  3. Stir in salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and fresh basil. Allow the mixture to bubble gently.
  4. Have sauce can open and ready to pour into stock pot. You want to hear a sizzle when adding thickened sauce. You will need to adjust heat and stir constantly while sauce and vegetable mixture marry together. Reduce heat and simmer long enough to allow drops of oil to resurface and the bright red color of the sauce to deepen.
  5. Add the water a little at a time leaving 1/2 cup (of the 2 1/2 cups) left behind for possible thinning.
  6. Let the sauce simmer as long as time allows - a minimum of 2 hours.
  7. Check seasoning for salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
  8. Serve over pasta, polenta or spaghetti squash. Good luck going back to Prego.
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