This is the sauce we used in the Eggplant & Zucchini alla Parmigiana. Some people would refer to this as a marinara sauce. Other people would call it a tomato sauce. Still others, like me, would simply call it a red sauce. Whatever you call it, it sure is good.
You have to forgive me for not posting this sauce as part of the Eggplant & Zucchini Parmigiana post. I simply felt it would have made the post way too lengthy. Also, this sauce can be used as the base for many other dishes. Hence, I made an executive decision to make it a stand alone, separate post. So, here it is.
Now that I decided to make this a separate post I had two other decisions that had to be made. First, I would have to find time to post it (something I seem to find myself short on lately). Second, and equally important, what would I call it? Would anybody read it if I called it tomato sauce? What if I called it a marinara sauce? Is it really a marinara sauce? How about a sugo rosso or sugo di pomodoro? I could even call it sugo scappato because the meat escaped! The list of questions simply grew and grew which, in turn, compounded my initial problem of finding time to post the recipe. How can you post a recipe if you don’t know what to call it?
Technically, this is not a marinara sauce. Although there is no one master marinara sauce, generally, a marinara sauce is a quick sauce, seasoned only with garlic, pepper, and, a few herbs, i.e. basil or oregano. The tomatoes are left chunky, and the texture of the finished sauce is fairly loose. The sauce, on the other hand, is definitely a sugo, Italian for sauce, not to mention rosso, i.e. red. Technically, I could call it that. At the same time, it’s a sugo di pomodoro because it’s a tomato sauce and a sugo scappato because it has no meat; ergo, the meat escaped. Most recipes for sugo scappato, however, call for some meat broth and this has none. Oh what to do? Finally, it dawned on me. Why was I fretting over something like this? Whenever men get in uncomfortable surroundings, they blame it on their wives. Yep, that’s the ticket. I could just as easily blame this on the Baby Lady. So, I have and therein lies the basis for the title. Baby Lady made the sauce and she called it a marinara sauce. Hence, right or wrong, Baby Lady’s Red Wine Marinara Sauce it is! I’m sure glad I figured that one out and can move on with the post. ;) I’m also glad Baby Lady has a good sense of humor or I don’t know where I would be sleeping tonight. :o
Regardless what you call this, it’s an excellent tomato sauce that you owe it to yourself to try. If you have never tried a tomato sauce with red wine you are in for a surprise as it provides such a depth of flavor and character. We hope you like it.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large, white onion, diced
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 28 oz cans crushed Italian plum tomatoes (we prefer Cento but use what you like)
- 1 28 oz can Chef’s cut tomatoes (you can use diced if you don’t have Chef’s cut)
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- peperoncino flakes aka crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
- 1-1/4 cup red wine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add oil to a large pot. Toss in crushed garlic and sauté until it begins to turn a golden brown. Do NOT burn. Once it begins to turn a brown color, add onions and sweat until translucent, roughly 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, herbs, pepperoncino flakes and red wine.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for roughly 1 hour. Use an immersion blender and puree the sauce. Continue to cook another 30 minutes or so until the sauce has reached its desired thickness. Baby Lady reduced it by roughly 1/3 of its total volume.
Once it has reached its desired thickness, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and use. Alternatively, allow the sauce to cool and pour into 1 Qt Mason jars for storage until needed. We like this option because it allows the flavors to meld overnight.
NOTES: Some people like their sauce sweeter. If so, add 1 tsp sugar to the sauce toward the end as you adjust the flavors. John, over at The The Bartolini Kitchens, caramelizes the onions and allows the caramelization process to naturally sweeten his sauce. His recipe can be found here. His basic meat sauce can be found here.