What is Marinara Sauce?
Marinara sauce is a type of tomato sauce that classically calls for San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, basil and salt. Today marinara is a word used interchangeably for spaghetti sauce. Marinara may contain other herbs and has a thinner consistency without being watery and contains no chunks. The flavor of this red sauce is full, sweet and tart, with an intense umami taste. Hints of herbs come through and the olive oil pleasantly mellows and enhances the flavors. Marinara is served with pasta, on pizza and in a variety of ways that are complementary to Italian cuisine.
What does Marinara Sauce Taste Like?
...Sweet is one of the five main tastes. It has smooth and round notes in its flavor profile. Sweet is a naturally occurring flavor in many foods, including fruits, berries, winter squashes, sugarcane, and honey. The sweet taste in these foods is due to a higher sugar content. Sweetness is characteristic of desserts and is used as an accent in savory foods.
...Sour is one of the five main tastes. It is tart and bright, sometimes with a mouth-puckering quality. Sour is a naturally occurring flavor found in many foods, including citrus, vinegar, various dairy products, and certain fruits. Sour is used to enhance a dish or drink and is used as both a main and complimentary flavor.
...Umami is one of five main tastes. It is savory with a depth of flavor. Umami is a taste in many foods, including meat, seafood, beans, and nuts. It is both naturally occurring and created through the specific use of ingredients to create a satisfying taste. Umami is characteristic of proteins and savory dishes.
...Spicy is a flavor that brings heat and fire to food by creating a burning sensation in the mouth or sinuses. Spicy flavors come from hot peppers, horseradish, and wasabi. Spicy adds a kick and sometimes complexity to a dish and releases endorphins, creating a mildly addictive quality.
...The plum tomato is type of tomato with a small body and oblong shape that is somewhat bigger than the roma tomato. This tomato is less juicy than the round slicing variety, which makes it good in salads, but is mainly used for tomato sauce. It is red with a thin skin and a soft yet slightly firm flesh and seeds in its center. It has a mild acidity and tart sweetness.
...Olive oil is extracted from the fresh olive, which grows on a tree. Many olives are needed in the extraction of the oil. This is done by a mechanical process and sometimes by a chemical process, though the mechanical method is highly preferred. Olive oil is a golden color and changes slightly due to whether it is extra virgin, or first cold pressed. The flavor of olive oil depends on how it was processed. Lower quality oils will taste mild, while high quality olive oils will have a robust flavor that is green, or may have a spicy quality. Extra virgin and first cold pressed or preferred. Olive oil lends a depth of flavor to any savory dish.
...The onion is a bulb vegetable, meaning its bulb and not its leaves are eaten. Onions come in many varieties, including white, yellow and red. Shallots are small and mild onions. Vidalias are sweet, while red onions are strong and sharp. The onion is usually round and has a thin dry skin around its juicy layers. This skin depends in the color of the onion, as does the flesh. The flesh, or body of the onion is made of multiple round layers, that get smaller towards the center. The flavor of onions are sharp and sweet when raw, with an astringent taste. When cooked, these flavors mellow and the sweetness emerges. Onion are a very common flavoring and ingredient for many savory dishes.
...Salt is a mineral composed mostly of sodium chloride. It is the main flavoring used in food and is naturally occurring in certain foods, such as cheese, beets, meat and celery, plus many others. Salt is white and has finer granules than sugar. Many commercial salts include iodide, while others exclude it. Most salts are white, while some are naturally pale pink with minerals. Salt brings out the flavor of something and can create a tangy mouthfeel, if used in excess.
...Garlic is used in cuisines around the world and is extremely popular for its depth of flavor. The garlic bulb forms underneath the soil and is harvested once it reaches maturity. The bulb typically has thin, dry, white and flaky skin, surrounding the individual cloves. Often there are 10-12 cloves to a bulb/head of garlic. The cloves are cream colored with a strong smell and flavor that is spicy and sharp. Garlic takes on a nutty flavor in addition, when cooked. It is used in countless dishes, sauces, breads and more.
...Basil is a leafy and aromatic herb that grows in warm climates. There are over one hundred varieties, though the most common Genovese variety of basil produces thin green leaves, in a tapered oval shape. The leaves taste bright, peppery and almost minty; the smell is the same. Basil lends a spicy sweet and herbal flavor to any dish.
...Parsley is an aromatic herb with slender green stalks and sturdy, small green leaves. There are two common types of parsley, curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. Italian parsley has a more robust flavor than curly parsley. Though each type tastes green, spicy and vegetal, with a hint of bitterness. Parsley is used as and herb to flavor dishes and as a garnish.
...The peppercorn plant grows in tropical climate and produces tiny black fruit. The fruit is dried and become hard. At this point it is ground into a textured powder comprised of black and grey dots. It has a flavor that is spicy, pungent and sharp. Pepper is an extremely popular spice, especially in Western cuisines and lends a gentle heat to dishes. There are different varieties of black pepper and the flavor changes subtly because of this.
...Oregano is an herb in the mint family and grows on thin and delicate stalks that produce tiny oblong leaves with tapered ends. These leaves are less than half an inch in length. Oregano has a mildly fuzzy texture and is thin and delicate. The green herb has a sharp and peppery flavor that is pungent, slightly bitter, green and a bit minty. When eaten, raw oregano creates a stringent feeling in the mouth. This herb is used in many cuisines and can be found frequently in Italian dishes, such as tomato sauce.
...Bay leaves are commonly bought dried, though can be used fresh. Once dried, they are a muted green color, bordering on grey. Each end comes to a point and the scent is green, floral and similar to thyme. One or two bay leaves are enough to flavor a large pot of soup. The flavor it lends is herbal and almost spicy, without any heat. Bay leaves should not be consumed as the flavor is pungent and bitter when not distributed through a dish.