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Recipe: Willow Creek's Tomato Sauce

Updated: Feb 17

Willow Creek's Tomato Sauce

Willow Creek's cuisine has deep roots in classic Italian ingredients and methods. The undisputed champion of sauce tomatoes is the San Marzano. San Marzano is a Volcanic growing region that produces roma style tomatoes. We use these tomatoes and only these tomatoes in all our canned tomato recipes. You will notice the difference immediately.

Our recipe this week is for our tomato sauce. It was the first recipe ever written here and is permanently written on the wall in the kitchen. The recipe is adapted from Cavey’s restaurant, the oldest continually operated Italian restaurant in the Tri-State Area and Curtis’s former employer.



1 cup olive oil

2 whole onions, medium dice

5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 cup olive oil

4 oz salt pork or cured salami (NOT SMOKED!) 1” chunks

1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 #10 can (6.6#) San Marzano tomatoes , whole in puree

1 piece parmesan or hard cheese rind (2oz)

¼ oz each fresh thyme, oregano, parsley, and basil sprigs tied in a bunch with butcher’s twine

2 bay leaves

1 quart water or chicken stock

Pour oil into a heavy gauge 6-8 quart sauce pot. Add garlic, onions and salt pork and cook over low heat until softened. Add crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute with onions and garlic. Crush the tomatoes some with a potato masher or your hands. Add all the other ingredients and turn on high heat. Stir the sauce intermittently until it simmers. Be sure to scrape the bottom to prevent settling and scorching. Return the sauce to low heat, again scraping the bottom occasionally as the solids and cheese rind settle to prevent scorching. Simmer approximately 3 hours. The meat chunks should be braised to tenderness. You can remove them and eat them (we do) or leave them in the sauce. Season with salt and black pepper and store (sauce freezes great!) or serve.

All ingredients are available in the Willow Creek Provisions Market!

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