Nana’s Sauce

My Italian Grandmother was always in the kitchen. She made everything by hand and everything from scratch. She was a wonderful cook, but she didn’t use recipes and she didn’t write anything down. Everything about her sauce reminds me of my childhood. When we would go down to the beach and visit my Nana in Laguna Niguel, CA, you’d always find a big pot of red sauce simmering on the stove. She’d let it stew for hours and when we were ready to eat, she would serve with gnocchi, lasagna, pizza or pasta. Some of my cousins would even request her sauce as a bowl of “soup” served with crusty bread. I’m so excited to share this family recipe with you. The San Marzano tomatoes & Vidalia onions give this sauce a slightly sweet flavor. This recipe is vegetarian, but you can certainly add meat and turn it into a Bolognese. It’s delicious on vegetables and I bet it would make the perfect dipping sauce for a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

Good Olive Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, chopped
4-5 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes, with their juice


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil to cover the bottom (about 3 tablespoons).

2. Add the onions and cook until translucent.

3. Add the minced garlic and cook stirring for about 2 minutes.

4. Crush the whole peeled tomatoes by hand and add the pulp and the juices to the pot.

5. Add the parsley, salt, pepper and sugar to the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly

6. Pour everything into a blender and blend well

7. Once blended, pour everything back into the Dutch oven and simmer on low for at least one hour, stirring the sauce every 15 to 30 minutes as needed.

Photo by Marcin Korytowski on