There are dozens of fabulous jarred marinara sauces available in every grocery store.  If you’re making a quick dinner, those are a great item to have on hand.  If you have some extra time, try making this sauce from scratch.  Handfuls of torn basil make it sweet, red wine gives it depth, and fresh tomatoes make it light and refreshing.  I use heirlooms because they’re juicy, rich, and add vibrant color to the sauce.  I also use one can of crushed tomatoes for the juice and additional sweet tomato flavor.

Homemade Heirloom Tomato and Basil Marinara

Makes three cups of sauce

Ingredients:  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil / 1 tablespoon of butter / 1 small sweet onion/ 2 carrots / 1 small shallot / 1 medium size clove of garlic / pinch of red pepper flakes / salt / pepper / 2 medium size heirloom tomatoes / 1 cup of red wine (whatever you have on hand–preferably something sweet and not dry) / 1 small can crushed tomatoes / 2 tablespoons of half and half (milk or cream can be substituted) / 1/3 cup grated parmesan / 1 cup fresh basil


1. Saute diced onions, carrots, garlic, red pepper flakes, and shallot in the butter and oil until translucent (about five minutes).  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.


2. Dice heirloom tomatoes and add to the pan with all of their juices.



3. Add the red wine to de-glaze the pan (do this by scraping up all the bits at the bottom).

4. Add can of crushed tomatoes and fresh torn basil leaves.  Season again with a pinch of salt and pepper.


5. Remove about 1/3 of the sauce from the pot and blend until smooth.  Return it back to the pot.  Add the half and half and parmesan.


6. Let sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes, but the longer the better.  Taste for salt and pepper before serving.