'Best' napoli sauce recipe?
December 30, 2007 4:20 PM   Subscribe

What's you favourite napoli sauce recipe?

I'm looking for a nice rich napoli sauce recipe using canned tomatoes.
posted by jedro to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sometimes known as marinara sauce!
posted by Deathalicious at 4:31 PM on December 30, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, I looked at that thread, but was hoping to draw out some more interesting recipes.
posted by jedro at 5:25 PM on December 30, 2007

The reason you haven't found interesting Napoli/marinara sauces is that once you add anything other than the basic ingredients, it's a different sauce that goes by a different name. Maybe you'd like these, which all share marinara's basic ingredients.

Arrabiata sauce: Translates as "angry." Penne Arrabiata is a classic. To marinara sauce, add chopped fresh hot red peppers, or dried red pepper flakes.

Matriciana or Amatriciana sauce: Tomatoes, garlic, maybe onions, etc.... plus ham, bacon, or pancetta.

Puttanesca sauce: another sauce from Naples. Contains anchovies and hot peppers, sometimes mushrooms. Some people put in capers as well.
posted by wryly at 5:57 PM on December 30, 2007

Well as I understand it, a napoli, if it really is the same as a marinara, is going to just be tomatoes, salt, and perhaps basil or oregano and a clove or two of garlic. It isn't going to be made in a particularly "interesting" way.

However, there are a lot of great tomato sauce recipes out there.

Some of my favorite things to add to a tomato sauce are exra garlic, onions, red bell peppers (adds a nice sweetnes), capers, greek hot peppers, olives, anchovies, lemon juice, extra olive oil, romano cheese, ricotta, an egg (just before mixing into the pasta, don't cook it), ground up meat or meat substitute, tofu, eggplant, and tuna (oh man is tuna good in tomato sauce! Albacore is better than light tuna).
posted by Deathalicious at 6:01 PM on December 30, 2007

Response by poster: There are various ingredients that people add to their 'napoli' sauces, like balsamic and sugar. And various techniques that they employ - like not breaking the tomatoes, to prevent the sauce being bitter.
posted by jedro at 6:14 PM on December 30, 2007

Lots of garlic, gently warmed in olive oil (not fried at a high temperature), then add good canned tomatoes crushed by hand, and lots of salt. Boil about 30 minutes.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:30 PM on December 30, 2007

I have no clue about distinctions between tomato-based sauces, but my SO and I have discovered what just makes tomato sauces sing: sweet vermouth and balsamic vinegar. Put those in your tomato sauce, and it's absolutely fantastic.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:20 PM on December 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

Lazy sauce: brown up crumbled Italian sausage, either hot or sweet. Drain fat. Add tomato sauce & some red wine, simmer. It's pretty good in 15 minutes, but after an hour, the sausage gets very tender.
posted by theora55 at 4:23 AM on December 31, 2007

If you add meat, it ain't marinara.

Do seek "Pomodori Pelati", in the can. Peeled Italian plum tomatoes. In decades past, I preferred the Montini brand. You want them packed in puree, not juice.

Getting the final result the right thickness can be a tad tricky. I was taught to add one of those small cans of tomato sauce per large can of tomatoes. This makes it thicker, and ramps up the tomato flavor.

Red wine is all important for good marinara.

I always use basil and oregano, both. They balance each other. Seemed to me that so long as you approximately double the basil over the oregano, it comes out good. And parsley, of the "flat" or Italian variety. Fresh, please!

I always fry the garlic in the oil until it turns blond. Onions go in too, and they turn translucent. Chop it all up fine (I know, chopping garlic fine is a pain, but don't try to cheat with pre-chopped, it isn't the same). I'd say I use a rather large amount of garlic. But keep in mind, the frying process removes the aromatics (ultimately, this means less garlic breath). The tomatoes are added to the oil (that is, you fry tine garlic and onions in the sauce pot).

The trick is to understand when the sauce is done. Marinara doesn't take very long to cook, since there is no meat being cooked in the sauce. You taste the sauce. At some point (around an hour) the taste changes. I think, but am not sure, the acid balance changes.

This may not be in any way "standard". I learned this from my Brooklyn Italian mother-in-law. The story is she was mostly self taught!
posted by Goofyy at 3:46 AM on January 1, 2008

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