Editor’s Note: This week, reader Mary Rice of Kennebunkport wrote to tell us about her son’s famous arrabbiata sauce. He has been keeping the family well-supplied. 

“My son Ronan, 28, was put on work at home policy three weeks ago by his company Ferric Inc. in Manhattan. He works in semiconductor chip design using thin film magnetics. The company shipped some of his equipment so he could still run tests on the chips at home. He has taken over the area over the garage as his testing lab. He is working productively every single day. He feels he can work productively from home, but he misses the interaction with co-workers who always help him troubleshoot. I have seen Ronan adjust quickly and I think many businesses will be nimble and adjust to our new reality.

“Ronan also brought his New York City standards with him when making his famous arrabbiata sauce. I was able to find everything (thank you Market Basket for the prized Italian San Marzano tomatoes), and we enjoyed the tomato sauce on spaghetti and pizza. Alongside we had sauteed broccolini from Arundel’s Frinklepod Farm weekly organic veggie bag program. All of it mopped up with the olive loaf from Night Moves bakery in Biddeford, which is taking online orders and delivering through their window.

“Ronan loves the quality of the products we have here, though when he lived here he did not appreciate the bounty of our state: Harris Farm milk in Dayton, Heiwa tofu in Rockport, and all the nose to tail butchers we have. Funny with these young ones – they leave in droves only to realize how good we have it here in the state of Maine.”

Ronnie’s Famous Arrabbiata Sauce

Ronan Rice says he actually reduced the olive oil by half from the original recipe. “This will seem like a lot,” he said, “but it’s what makes it so good.” He likes to use DOP San Marzano tomatoes. “I’m excited to have this published,” he added. “A friend and I at work both think we have the best tomato sauce, and I think being published in the Maine Sunday Telegram will give me some credibility.”

Ronan’s Arrabbiata sits in a Dutch oven on the stove. Photo courtesy of Mary Rice

Yields 7-8 cups

7 large whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 1/2 cups olive oil, divided
1 cup finely diced yellow onion, shallots or a combination
4 (28-ounce) tins Italian San Marzano whole tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
Black pepper, to taste
About 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Heat a scant 1 cup oil to a simmer in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the whole garlic and fry briefly. Add the onion or shallots and saute for 5 minutes or until the garlic cloves turn golden, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes (do not drain) with the remaining 1 1/2 cups olive oil and the red pepper flakes. Keep the heat at a fast simmer, stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes with a spoon. Let the mixture reduce in volume by one third; it will take several hours. Add the salt and black pepper. Add the sugar gradually until the sauce has the acidity you like.

Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or transfer in batches and puree in a stand blender to emulsify. A quick blend is fine; you don’t want the sauce completely smooth.

Serve the sauce with your favorite pasta or on a homemade pizza crust.


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