I think almost everyone knows how to make a marinara sauce, but everyone has his or her own spin on it. I watched an episode of Lidia's Italian Table recently all about Marinara Sauce and decided to try it her way. It was great!
Marinara is a quick sauce, seasoned only with garlic, pepper and, if you like basil or oregano. The pieces of tomato are left chunky and the texture of the finished sauce is fairly loose.
Tomato sauce, on the other hand is a more complex affair, starting with pureed tomatoes and seasoned with onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf, and left to simmer until thickened and rich in flavor.
On the show I believe she made a double recipe because she was using the marinara for 3 different dishes: Spaghetti Marinara, Sea Bass with Olives, Capers and Marinara and Chicken Breasts with Mozzarella and Marinara (which I will post next)
Ingredients: ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
Ricotta cheese for topping and serving
Directions: Make this sauce with fresh tomatoes only when the juiciest, most flavorful ripe tomatoes are available. (Increase the amount of olive oil a little if you make the sauce with fresh tomatoes.) Otherwise, canned plum tomatoes make a delicious marinara sauce.
Cook pasta (Lidia used Spaghetti, but I used Angel Hair) until al dente (soft on the outside with a bite to the inside). Heat a large pan and add a few ladles of marinara sauce to it. Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil. Add the pasta to the marinara sauce to finish cooking and more fresh torn basil if desired. Lift the pasta with tongs and twist onto a serving dish to form a mound. Add a small amount of marinara on top and a dollop of ricotta cheese. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.