Goomba Grub
by Baby Huey

So, if you tuned in last week, you learned that I made a buttload of red sauce a couple of weeks ago. Just for funsies. You also learned that you won't ever get the recipe. You won't even pry it from my cold, dead hands, because there's no written record.

That being said, I am a benevolent software engineer cum metalhead cum chef. When Timmer requested a red sauce recipe, I couldn't possibly refuse. I'm gonna give you a good basic recipe. Think of it like a blank canvas. I'll tell you a few different variations and you can go from there.

Basic Tomato Sauce

  • maters.jpg2 28 ounce cans of WHOLE San Marzano tomatoes
    Why whole San Marzano tomatoes? San Marzano tomatoes are not a brand. They come from town of San Marzano in Italy. They are without a doubt my favorite sauce tomatoes because for whatever reason - the soil, the water, who knows - the tomatoes are meatier with fewer seeds. Fewer seeds means less of that narsty gel, and less narsty gel means less acidity. Whole tomatoes have been processed less than their stewed, chopped, or otherwise deconstructed counterparts, and thus, still taste more like tomatoes.
  • 1 c dry white wine
    Why use wine? Chemical compounds that make up flavor can be dissolved by one of three solvents: water, fat, and alcohol. Tomatoes have flavor compounds that are alcohol-soluble. The wine will make the tomatoes taste ... well, more like tomatoes.
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chile flakes
  • 1/4 c olive oil

Cut the onion, celery, and carrot into big chunks and throw them into a food processor with the garlic and buzz them up till they're minced really fine. Normally I don't advocate using the food processor for chopping vegetables but you really want it smaller than would be easy to do with a knife. You want it to be about the consistency of ground meat.

Heat the olive oil in a three to four quart, not non-stick, saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground vegetables, chile flakes, and about 1/2 tsp of salt and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, till the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. You need to cook the raw flavor out of it. You'll know it's ready when its raw red color is gone and is replaced by a rust / brick color.

Add the tomatoes and wine, and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the sauce just to a simmer, and drop the heat to low. Let this go for about 2 hours. You need to stir it every 10 to 15 minutes, though. Tomatoes have a lot of natural sugar, and they tend to burn pretty easily. That tastes like sweaty ass, so don't allow it to happen. When you stir, make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan completely. Use a wooden spoon; rubber spatulas are too soft.

After 2 hours, take a potato masher and go to town on those tomatoes. Careful though, they splatter like a motherfucker. If you're intent on a smooth sauce, you can put it in the blender, but the masher gives you more leeway for later applications.

At this point, you've got a damn good -- if a bit plain -- sauce. There are tons of variations.

* add your favorite dried herbs to the oil with the vegetables before adding the tomatoes. Thyme, oregano and basil are classics. Rosemary doesn't work well. You can also add spices like a touch of nutmeg, especially if you're making ...

* vodka sauce. Replace the 1 c of wine with 1/2 c vodka. After you've mashed the tomatoes, add a cup of heavy cream. It's perfect over heavier pastas like gnocchi or whole wheat penne.

* putanesca sauce (literally, hooker sauce). Add a tablespoon of capers to the vegetables in the food processor. Add 3 or 4 anchovy fillets to the oil and saute for a minute before adding the vegetables. They'll basically dissolve in the oil.

* arrabiata sauce (angry sauce). Up the chile flake to 1 1/2 tsp and add 1/3 c of pitted green olives to the vegetables in the food processor.

Those are some of my favorite variations. And folks, I'm always willing to honor requests. Makes my job a shitload easier. If there's something you'd like to see me prepare, let me know.

Whenever I think about red tomato sauce, I think of this week's band.

dyingfetus.jpgDying Fetus
War of Attrition
Relapse Records

The propoganda I got from Relapse is pretty good for this record, so just read that. This album promises to be one of the heaviest of the year.

Death metal powerhouse Dying Fetus return with their long-awaited new record War of Attrition. Masterminded by guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher and his hand picked kill-team, War of Attrition advances the band’s devastating assault and destroys everything in its path. From the first song to the last, the patented 'Fetus combination of punishing slam riffs, frenzied guitar work, and utterly savage dual-vocal assault and overpowers the listener. War of Attrition reaches an altogether new and focused level of brutality for Dying Fetus, and expands and cements the legendary status of this renowned metal institution.

Recommended Tracks: "Insidious Repression", "Homicidal Retribution", "Obsolete Deterrence"

Baby Huey is a goomba so he's allowed to say that. But you're not. That's OUR word.

Dishful of Metal archives


Thanks for the tip on the tomatoes. I hate that nasty gooey crap.


No problem, DR. San Marzano tomatoes are a little pricier, obviously, since they have to be imported, and they're a little hard to find, but they're totally worth it. Cento makes my favorite brand of SM tomatoes. You may have to go to an Italian market to find them, though you should be able to find them at a Harry's or Whole Food's (whatever it's called down in your neck of the woods :) )

If you can't find SM tomatoes, you should add 1 - 2 Tbsp of sugar for every can of tomatoes.


Wow, this actually requires cooking vs just warming up some tomato sauce and adding basil, oregano and garlic.

I like.


An Eye-talian I wouldn't even know where to begin to look for one. There are several farmer's markets, though, so I'll bet I can find them there. Hell, I'm just proud of myself for making homemade sauce instead of coping out to a jarred one. I also have to make oil & kernel popcorn and not that crappy microwave stuff. That stuff's for heathens.


Hey all,

I forgot a step in the recipe (the tomato paste, very important), so I went ahead and updated the recipe. Don't forget it.


This sounds,



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