Sicilian Marinara / Carrettiera Sauce


This is an authentic Sicilian spaghetti sauce named for the Sicilian cart (carrettiera) drivers.  This sauce is fresh and flavourful and has a slight bite to it.  One thing you will notice about homemade marinara sauces as opposed to jarred is the more vibrant colour and the fuller flavour.  I don’t know what it is about the preservation process for canning goods, but they seem to have this ‘old’ taste to them.  Nothing compares to  a homemade sauce.

I tend to use Roma tomatoes for my sauce, they have a better flavour, more condensed.  In some grocery stores, these are labeled as ‘plum’ tomatoes.  If they aren’t available in your area, you want to select small and firm tomatoes, small enough to almost fit in the palm of your hand and close your fingers around.  Push on the tomato, specifically on the undersides, and check for bruising.


1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 – 5 garlic cloves

1/2 cup basil, finely chopped*

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt, ground

1/2 cup water

*If using dried or jarred basil, you will want to dump it into your palms, crushing it by rubbing your hands briskly together before dumping it into the pot.  This will bring out more flavour.


  • Fill a large stew pot half full with water and bring to boil.
  • Wash tomatoes and place gently into the water, 5 at a time.
  • Allow tomato to boil for 3 minutes.
  • Remove tomato and allow to sit and cool.
  • Complete until all tomatoes have been boiled.
  • Quarter tomatoes and remove skin.
  • In a heavy saucepan over low to medium heat, place tomatoes and olive oil in.
  • Using a press, add garlic.
  • Add red peppers, salt and basil.
  • Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then add water.
  • Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low.
  • Allow to cook for another fifteen minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium to high speeds, beat sauce to a thickened consistency.
  • Serve over selected pasta.

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