Secret Ingredient Recipe

Chef Justin Large’s Bucatini with veal neck bone sugo, and whipped ricotta. by John Gress/for The Daily

By Bill Bradley, The Daily

Justin Large learned how to make pasta sauce from his aunt’s ex-boyfriend, a native Italian. “The relationship didn’t last,” said the chef de cuisine at Chicago hotspot Big Star, “but his recipe for tomato sauce did.” The secret? Large says it’s whole peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes — a plum varietal that originated in Peru, was brought to Europe around the mid-1500s but only gained popularity in the 17th or 18th century when folks realized they weren’t poisonous. The canned offerings at your local supermarket can be overwhelming, but Large suggests sticking to the Italian-grown Baresi brand for its depth of flavor. “Not to be cheesy, but you can taste the terroir,” he said. “You can almost taste the sun and the soil they were grown in.”

Click here for the recipe

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