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Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce


Score: 5.00. Votes: 1
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Getting a table at the 123-year-old original Rao’s restaurant in New York City is next to impossible. The tables are “owned” by regulars who schedule their meals months in advance, so every table is full every night, and that’s the way it’s been for the last 38 years. The only way an outsider would get to taste the restaurant’s fresh marinara sauce is to be invited by a regular.

If that isn’t in the stars for you, you could buy a bottle of the sauce at your local market (if they even have it). It won't be fresh, and it's likely to be the most expensive sauce in the store, but it still has that great Rao's taste. An even better solution is to copy the sauce for yourself using this new and very easy hack.

The current co-owner of Rao’s, Frank Pellegrino Jr., told Bon Appetit in 2015 that the famous marinara sauce was created by his grandmother many years ago, and the sauce you buy in stores is the same recipe served in his restaurants. The ingredients are common, but correctly choosing the main ingredient—tomatoes—is important. Try to find San Marzano-style whole canned tomatoes, preferably from Italy. They are a little more expensive than typical canned tomatoes, but they will give you some great sauce.

After 30 minutes of cooking, you’ll end up with about the same amount of sauce as in a large jar of the real thing. Your version will likely be just a little bit brighter and better than the bottled stuff, thanks to the fresh ingredients. But now you can eat it anytime you want, with no reservations, at a table you own.

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  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano-style tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ...

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Score: 5.00. Votes: 1
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Tom Fox
Apr 25, 2020, 18:40

Wow, this was great! I have never made homemade sauce before, and while it might take a bit more time and effort, it certainly tastes better than something from a jar. I was happy to find the right kind of tomatoes, and if that was the secret to the flavor, then it was worth tracking them down. I will definitely make this again.

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