Chuck’s Marinara Sauce

We were at the cabin when I first made this sauce. It was winter, and I used a large can of tomatoes. The following summer I made it with fresh tomatoes from the garden, and it was even better. Some people say that real marinara sauce is made only with garlic, basil, salt and pepper and olive oil. That may be, but I like this recipe.

It has a full rich flavor that is wonderful on pasta or pizza. Give it a try.


6 medium tomatoes (3 to 3 1/2 inch diameter) or a large can (28 oz.) of diced tomatoes
4 T. olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 six-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried crushed oregano (or two T. chopped fresh oregano)
1 tsp. dried crushed basil (or two T. chopped fresh basil)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed in mortar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 T. anchovy paste or two finely chopped anchovy fillets
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine


If using fresh tomatoes, bring a pot of water to boiling. Wash the tomatoes and scald them in the boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds until the skins begin to wrinkle. Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and put them in ice water to cool. Remove the skins and cores and chop the tomatoes medium fine. If you don’t like the seeds, cut the tomatoes into fourths and remove the seeds before chopping.

Peel and mince the garlic and finely dice the onion. Heat the olive oil over low heat in a medium size sauce pan (about 3 or 4 quarts). Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 15 or 20 seconds. Do not allow the onion or garlic to brown.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, salt, herbs, spices, anchovy paste and wine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer the sauce for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally. Be careful not to scorch the sauce, especially as it begins to thicken. Add a little more wine if the sauce gets thicker than you want.

Serve over your favorite pasta or use it to make a pizza. Offer grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

NOTES: You may be afraid to include the anchovy paste or chopped anchovies, but I guarantee that you will not taste any fish in this recipe. The anchovies add a depth to this sauce that is lacking in most of the commercial sauces you encounter which try to give more flavor by adding more salt and sugar.

You can make a good meat sauce by browning a pound of hamburger seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Drain the meat and stir it into the sauce before serving. Even better, brown a pound of bulk Italian sausage and add it to the sauce.

Marinade for Steaks and Chops

“Now, I have to get up at 4 tomorrow morning, get dressed, have breakfast at 4:30, pick Pete and Harold up at 5 and be at Leroy’s by 5:30,” explained my father.  “We have to be on our stands by 6.”

My mother was a new bride determined to be the best wife in Hayward.  She sliced the breakfast bacon, got the percolator ready to go on the stove and made my Dad’s lunch  before setting the alarm clock and going to bed.  This was many years before at least one wife decided to sleep in on the opening day of deer hunting season while her husband cooked his own breakfast.
The alarm went off, Mom woke Dad and started breakfast while Dad clothed himself in long underwear, a wool jack shirt, three pairs of socks, wool breeches that laced above the ankles and tall leather boots that laced nearly to his knees.
After a strengthening breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee, he got out his pocket watch to see if he had time for another cup before picking up his fellow hunters.
“What!!” says he as he holds his watch up to his ear to see if it has stopped. “It’s midnight!”
So it’s off with the clothes and back in bed to snuggle with Mom after checking to make sure that the alarm is set for 4.
“I was just so nervous,” Mom would explain as Dad told the story.  “I wanted to be sure to do everything right.”
Dad would laugh and say that at least she got him up in plenty of time.
I don’t remember whether he got his buck that morning, but he shot a lot of deer over the years.  We ate a lot of venison when I was a kid.  Mom fried it, roasted it, canned it and made chili and stew with it.
The one thing she did not do was serve it rare or even medium rare.  Meat was well done in our house until I started cooking, and then most family members refused to eat my attempts at gourmet cuisine.  Maybe if I had had a good marinade like this one….

I found this recipe on the web and have used it many times since, both for venison and beef. This marinade seasons and tenderizes lean meat exquisitely. Once you try it, you will be using it often.


2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Dash of allspice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 venison steaks or chops


Mince two large cloves of garlic and finely chop half a small onion. You should have about one-third cup of chopped onion. Combine the onion and garlic with the other marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.

Put the steaks or chops in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag, making sure that the meat is well coated with the marinade. Marinate the meat for three to five hours in your refrigerator, turning it every hour or so. Take it out of the refrigerator a half hour before cooking to let it warm a bit.

You can grill or sauté the meat. Grill the meat over a hot charcoal or gas grill for two or three minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat and your preference. If you choose to sauté the meat, have your skillet very hot. Add a small amount of shortening and sear the meat in the pan on each side, again for two or three minutes. Venison should be served rare to medium rare.

NOTES: This marinade goes well with beef grill steaks or even round steak if you do not overcook it. If you don’t have any Dijon mustard, substitute a half teaspoon of dry mustard.