Plankey/Siano Maranara Sauce

My cousin Dave sent me this recently. It’s based on an old family recipe we enjoyed when we were kids, hanging out at camp on Lake Champlain in Vermont. I’m posting it here, mostly so I don’t lose it, but also so you can give it a try.


  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil — Extra Virgin.
  • Peeled Tomatoes — “Cento Peeled Tomatoes” 35 oz can – You can also use the “with Basil”
  • Tomato Paste — “Cento” 6 oz can
  • Salt, Pepper, Hot Red Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Grated cheese — Locatelli grated Pecorino Romano cheese (comes in a small tub, don’t substitute!!)

  1. Slice 6 cloves (segments of a Garlic bulb) of garlic as thinly as possible. Cut again to make smallest pieces possible, no big chunks. Do NOT use garlic salt or garlic powder!
  2. Tear apart each tomato into small chunks with your fingers into a bowl eliminating any stems or any bruised parts.
  3. Barely cover the bottom of an eight to ten inch sauce pan with the extra virgin olive oil and put over very low heat. Add garlic. Oil should be barely simmering with small bubbles. Watch closely, stir occasionally. When garlic turns from white to yellow, add tomatoes. Careful to not let the garlic burn (turn brown) before adding tomatoes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add either a half (suggested) or a whole small 6 oz can of tomato paste, depending on personal preference for sauce consistency. Stir well. The paste is used to thicken the sauce. The paste will add quite a bit of tartness to the sauce which will have to be neutralized by adding more sugar and honey afterward so only add what you need to get desired consistency!

** The following ingredients should be added to taste and the amounts in this recipe were estimated with no measured amounts. You should try to add the amount described for best results. **

  1. Shake approximately one half of a teaspoon of hot red pepper onto a plate. Shake off any seeds, crush the rest into very fine pieces (almost powder) and add to sauce. The garlic and red pepper are cut into the smallest pieces possible to assimilate evenly into the sauce. If the sauce is cooked to perfection (time-wise), you should taste every ingredient used with nothing overpowering. Stir frequently. Do not overcook the sauce!
  2. Add approximately a half teaspoon of salt and a couple shakes of black pepper, stir.
  3. Taste sauce as is for bitterness. Add about a handful of sugar and squeeze a liberal amount of honey (six times around the pan). Stir and taste again. Add more sugar/honey if desired (we did!!).
  4. Let sauce simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally. The sauce is done and should be pulled from the heat when you can taste all the ingredients used with nothing overpowering. Taste frequently and do not overcook the sauce!!!
  5. Cook whichever pasta you choose (we used ziti), add sauce and grated cheese, enjoy!!

Ray’s notes:

  • I am lazy, so I usually make a larger batch so I don’t have to make it as often. The Cento Peeled Tomatoes I can find actually come in 28 oz. cans. I’ll use three of them (always the Italian version with basil) and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
  • I’ll use pre-minced garlic (again, lazy), and crush it further with the flat of a knife before cooking.
  • I usually add some meat – hamburg or sausage, depending on what’s in the freezer.
  • I sometimes use cayenne pepper instead of grinding up red pepper flakes. Either way, it’s very easy to add too much, so be careful! Though this also makes for a fine arrabiata sauce if it gets a little spicy.
  • I will often substitute the grated cheese with whatever we have around (still lazy!).


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