The Venetian Cab Driver
The abundance of tomatoes being dropped on my doorstep recently reminded me of a conversation I had in Italy several years ago. On my way to the airport after a stay in Venice, I inquired of my female cab driver.
“Do you eat pasta every day?” I asked the svelte young woman.
“Si, every day … all my life.”
“How do you make your sauce? I want something quick and easy … an everyday recipe that an Italian family would use.”
“Very easy,” she said in broken English. “Cook chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Must be extra-virgin. Very important. I was scribbling furiously on the back of my opera program that I found in my purse.
“Yes … yes, go on …”
“Pour in large can whole tomatoes that you crush with your hands. Or fresh when you have them. Then—very important—cut up fresh basil. Must be fresh. Add salt. Cook one hour.” “No sugar?” I asked. “No. Do just as I say and you have very good sauce every day.”
I have since tried her recipe—but not every day—and it is quite good. But Americans are never content to leave well-enough alone, so I insist on adding a bit of sugar.
Since then I have found the family recipe of comedian Dom DeLuise to be even better. His Italian mother pushed the sauce up the goodness meter with the addition of a small can of tomato paste and some sundried tomatoes.
Take a look at Mama DeLuise’s Marinara Sauce here as preserved in her son’s cookbook, Eat It All…It’s Good for You!