Christine Gardner,

Since the release of "Favorite FLAVOR" in December, the most popular question has been, "What is your favorite recipe from the book?"

It was very hard to narrow down all of the recipes that were included in the book, not to mention trying to decide an ultimate favorite.

I thought for a while and decided it had to be the one recipe that has taken the longest to perfect – my marinara sauce. I've been working on this recipe for many years. It received final adjustments after I worked in Sorrento, Italy, and had the chance to experience firsthand the amazing flavor of San Marzano tomatoes.

Grown in the valley's fertile mineral-rich volcanic soil in the Italian region of Campania, the production of these tomatoes is protected by regional D.O.P. guidelines. It is a designation that ensures quality, excellence and originality.

When shopping for these canned tomatoes, look for authentic San Marzano tomatoes that are imported from Italy.

The "Favorite FLAVOR" cookbook is available at FRESH by Brookshire's, Sweet Gourmet in Tyler and in Palestine, at Texas Art Depot and O'Sweet Pea. If you live outside the Tyler area and would like to purchase a copy, email for purchase details.


San Marzano Marinara



1 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes

1 28-ounce can of low-sodium crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 medium sweet onion, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/2 cup dry red wine, divided

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 handful of fresh basil, chopped (1 tablespoon, dried)



Pour the can of San Marzano tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands. Set aside. Over medium heat add oil to a large sauce pan. When oil is hot, add onion. Sauté until soft, but not brown. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir into the onion and garlic. Let the mixture caramelize and darken just a bit and then add 1/4 cup of wine to deglaze. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and the San Marzano tomatoes. Stir together completely. Reduce heat to low and add the oregano, pepper and salt. Stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine and simmer for at least 20 minutes or much longer, if possible. Taste with a piece of bread and adjust seasoning if necessary. If you make adjustments simmer for another 15 minutes. When desired flavor is achieved, remove from heat and add the basil. If you think the flavor is too acidic you can add a pat of butter or 1 teaspoon of sugar. If adding sugar let the sauce simmer for another 10 minutes and test again. This makes about 6 cups of sauce. Put half of it in a large freezer bag and freeze for later use.







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