Pomarola Sauce for Pasta (and Pizza?)

I’m working on a pomarola sauce for pasta as I usually cringe at what is served in restaurants here, with Gloria’s Little Italy being the lone exception.

Gloria’s husband, Mauro, told me on my way out the door once and in response to a question about cooking time that Gloria uses a minestrone as the base. I had detected the vegetables already and this big tip cleared up everything. The direct answer to my question was that the sauce cooked for 4 or 5 hours total. Armed with this information, I have created my recipe here.

Serve this with spaghetti, angel hair or linguine. I’m certain it will work well for others too.

Pizza

This will make good pizza sauce if you a) reduce it down a lot, b) use lots of oregano and garlic and c) use a hand-held to smooth out the mirepoix. I start with a very finely chopped (minced even) set of mirepoix ingredients in the first place. Some may find it too “country-style” (course) for their taste, but there’s no argument that it’s tasty.

Variation: Salsa rosata

Just before removing from stove, stir in ½ cup of fresh cream (based on given proportions here), and return to serving temperature.

Variation: Salsa arrabiata

In the early stages, step 1 below, add more red pepper flakes. Arrabiata means "angry" in Italian: it just makes this pomarola spicier.

Yield

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  The minestrone
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pince red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small minced fresh onion
1 medium minced carrot
2 stalks minced celery
1 can low-sodium chicken stock (broth)
 
  The sauce
  2-4 cloves crushed garlic
  2 large cans whole, peeled tomatoes and juice
  2½ small cans diced tomatoes with juice
  2 tbsp sugar
  1 tsp Kosher salt
  1 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  handful fresh shredded basil
  1 tsp dried basil

Preparation

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add red pepper flakes to bloom for several seconds, then onion and sauté until clarified. Add carrots and celery. Brown nothing!

2. Reduce temperature and add minced garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and push to back burner on stove to simmer and reduce.

Minestrone is basically stone soup. There is no definitive recipe, but anything and everything is summarily thrown into the pot. This recipe here is just my analysis of what Gloria’s contains and what I want in my sauce. I don’t, for example, want potatoes and beans in my pasta sauce. I might, however, eagerly add mushrooms or small bits of peppers.

3. Into a large pot, put tomatoes and crush into chunks using wooden spoon. Add sugar and salt. Zap up with a hand-held blender, but do not reduce ingredients to a smooth liquid.

4. Pour the minestone and tomato bots into a crock pot and simmer until needed, probably at least 4 hours. During this time, add in the garlic, more olive oil and, an hour before using, the basil.

Serve hot over pasta and sprinkle with any grana podano cheese (Parmesan, Romano, etc.). This works well as the sauce for your pollo alla parmiggiana.