Boston’s historic North End neighborhood has a long-standing heritage, and it is famous for being the home of patriot Paul Revere and other colonial-era American landmarks. But the North End is also sometimes referred to as Boston’s Little Italy, and it is equally famous for its Italian heritage! The neighborhood is home to numerous restaurants serving fantastic, authentic Italian cuisine and it attracts crowds of locals and tourists alike!
This recipe for Marinara Sauce is adapted from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane, one of the North End’s most celebrated cooks! An old friend of mine who came from a large Italian family originally told me about this wonderful cookbook, and I just had to buy it for my collection when she told me that everyone in her family referred to this book as “our family cookbook” because the recipes were so similar to their own Italian grandmother’s recipes.
This marinara sauce has some wonderfully complex flavors! The classic flavors of plum tomatoes, garlic, onion, and basil are enhanced and complemented by a small amount of mint, and the sauce also gets a little kick from a pinch of red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
This sauce is also very versatile and quick to make! It can be used not only as a sauce over pasta and meatballs, but also as a dipping sauce with fried mozzarella or risotto balls. We hope you enjoy this authentic taste of Boston’s North End neighborhood in your own home!
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- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 28-ounce can of whole plum tomatoes crushed by hand (just reach in and squeeze the tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup finely shredded carrot
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Few grinds of black pepper
- Place olive oil, onions and garlic in a cool sauce pan and gradually bring up heat to medium high. (Heating it this way makes the onions very soft.) Once the oil is hot and the onions and garlic are bubbling, cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add all of the other ingredients. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree until desired consistency. (We like our marinara sauce to be a bit chunky.)
- Use as a dipping sauce or over pasta.
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