About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Pizza with Margherita Topping: Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil and Parmesan Cheese | Main | Alla Romana Topping: Mozzarella, Anchovies, and Basil »

Marinara Topping: Garlic, Tomatoes, and Olive Oil

Question: What's wrong with this picture? Answer: Too much sauce.
Question: What's right with this picture? Answer: Lots and lots of sauce.


The reason there is so much sauce is the reason why it's OK to be there. My grandson was having a cooking lesson while we made the pizza. He was extraordinarily proud of the sauce we made. "From real tomatoes, MeeMaw!" When he began spreading it on the dough, I didn't have the heart to stop him until he had used every drop of his creation.

I peeled the tomatoes and my grandson stripped them of their seeds and excess liquid. He was very careful to get every last seed.


After cooking the tomatoes down with olive oil, we spread them over the top of our prepared pizza dough. (See Beth's post from Sunday to discover why I didn't make my own dough from scratch.) Then we added salt, sliced garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil before sliding the pizza into the oven to bake.


In one of Marcella's cookbooks - Marcella's Italian Kitchen - the dedication reads. "For my star pupil. His enthusiasm at the table has fed mine in the kitchen; in the kitchen beside me, as my official taster, his judgement has never failed me..."

I'll never write a cookbook, but if one of my grandchildren decides to grow up and become a chef, I wouldn't be opposed.

Comments (4)

Great post Deborah. Your grandson is a lucky boy!

Deborah responds: Thanks, Susie!

Marcella Hazan:

It looks irresistible, Deborah. In your trips to Italy, did you ever come across a tomato sauce called marinara? I haven't.

Deborah responds: Interesting question, Marcella. Of course, I can't remember every menu I've read. But, I probably do have a few more Italian cookbooks that the average American. One of them is the english version of
Il Ccucchiaio d'argento (The Silver Spoon). If I'm going to find it, I'll find it there, right? Guess what? Not there.

So the question now is.... Why did you give the recipe that name in Essentials?


I agree with Susie, your grandson is one lucky kid!! Another scrumptuous looking recipe to put into my tummy!!!

Deborah responds:
Mindy, I think you and Susie have been our most loyal readers. We SO appreciate both of you!

Marcella Hazan:

My question, which was prompted by this recipe, was about the ubiquitously named marinara pasta sauce, common usage in the US, unknown in Italy. The term marinara is part of the Italian gastronomic lexicon, however, and its use is more adjectival than as a noun. My headnote gives the etymology, and in the context of a pizza topping, the use is idiomatic. I brought this up only because i am intrigued by the currency that certain Italian terms, not to mention certain Italian dishes, have in this country but are unknown in Italy.

It is curious too that you should turn to the Silver Spoon for reference. I have never looked inside the English version, but the Italian one was never considered a solid book of regional Italian cooking. It is a heterogeneous assortment of recipes of no territorial authenticity for middle-class
housewives whose mothers hadn't shown them how to

Deborah responds: So interesting, your description of Silver Spoon. When it came out a few years ago and customers asked me about it, I told them it was the Italian equivalent of America's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. From the 50s through the 90s every new bride got one as a wedding present.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 24, 2011 4:08 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Pizza with Margherita Topping: Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil and Parmesan Cheese.

The next post in this blog is Alla Romana Topping: Mozzarella, Anchovies, and Basil.

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