Posts tagged with sauce:
I’ve really been enjoying The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Edward Mayes this past week. So far I’ve posted the Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes recipe which includes the Roasted Tomato recipe.
Now I’m sharing with you Giusi’s Ragu. Giusi is one of the authors’ close friends whom they met early in their move to the Tuscan countryside, and who, like the others, has shared passed-down, hallowed recipes each with their own creative touch. To quote the author…
Slow and easy-long-simmered ragu is the quintessential Tuscan soul food. There are as many ways with ragu as there are cooks. This is ours, learned originally from Guisi, who’s made it a thousand times. By now, I think we have, too. On many Saturday mornings, Ed makes a huge pot of ragu-tripling, quadrupling the recipe-and another of tomato sauce. We consider these our natural resources. For lunch, while the pots are still on the stove, we spoon ragu over bruschetta, add some cheese, and run it under the broiler. By afternoon, we’re ready to fill several glass containers of different sizes and freeze them. We’re then free to pull out one during the workweek.
Serve ragu in lasagne or over spaghetti and, as you eat, you know you’re participating in a communal rite that’s being enacted all over the Italian peninsula.
Now for the ragu…
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground lean beef
1 pound ground pork
2 Italian sausages, casings removed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 to 2 cups red wine
1 cup soffritto (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
16 to 20 tomatoes or 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, juice included, chopped
Pour the olive oil into a 4-quart heavy pot with a lid. Over medium-high heat, brown the meats, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes.
Add the salt„ pepper, thyme, and 1 cup of the red wine. After the wine has cooked into the meat, about 10 minutes, add the soffritto, and stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and then lower to a quiet simmer. Partially cover, and continue cooking for 3 hours, stirring now and then. Along the way, add the remaining cup of wine if you think the sauce is too dense.
A quick saute of carrot, onion, celery and flat-leaf parsley starts off many sauces and meats. It is similar to mirepoix in France. Depending on the recipe, you can add a variety of other ingredients to the soffritto: 2 minced cloves of garlic, 4 or 5 torn basil leaves, or other aromatic herbs.
Use this in ragu or soup and as a seasoning for zucchini, peas, or other vegetables. Mix some with breadcrumbs and stuff tomatoes with it. Add a cup of chopped, oven-roasted tomatoes to a soffritto, and you have a perfect sauce for spaghetti.
For a quick dinner, make a big batch ahead of time and freeze in 1/2 cup portions for you to grab for your recipe.
The following makes 1 cup of soffritto
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
(You can mince by hand or in a food processor)
Saute the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to color and turn tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Proceed with your recipe, or cool and freeze.
Remember that Roasted Tomato recipe featured in the previous post for Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes …here’s another delicious way to use it other than as a topping for bruschette, in a frittata or risotto. Use it as a topping on a quick pizza.
Yesterday I found I had some whole wheat pitas (from Trader Joe’s, I think) in my freezer.
I pulled them out, and with a drizzle of olive oil on both sides of the pita I placed them on a baking sheet, smeared them with some left-over roasted tomatoes, added some sauteed mushrooms, some shredded mozzarella cheese, a sprinkling of dried oregano, and popped them in a preheated 375 degree oven on an upper rack for about 6 to 7 minutes til the cheese was melted and the pita was toasted.
Delicious! And fairly healthy with that whole wheat pita!
You will notice there’s one in the photo without any tomato sauce. While my husband would never eat a slice of pizza without tomato sauce, I love it both ways. So for this one I added some grated Pecorino Romano to the mozzarella, and threw on some pitted Calamata olives along with the mushrooms. Yum!
The combinations are endless, but please do make some with those flavorful roasted tomatoes! You won’t be sorry!
Much has happened this past week. Last Friday our home officially went on the market.
Beginning then and through the weekend we had realtors bringing clients to show the house which meant my husband and I were “out of here”…prospective home buyers don’t feel comfortable looking at the house with the home owner within earshot, so we found ourselves having breakfast, lunch and dinner out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…and killing a lot of time. A movie in between meals, a trip to Georgetown window shopping in between meals, having coffee in between meals, etc., and all the time wondering what was going on at home.
To say we were
excited, nervous, crazed is an understatement. I pride myself in keeping a very clean, orderly home, but the pressure of having everything perfect for whomever walks through our door knowing they will be looking in every nook and cranny is challenging to say the least!
Will that tulip which is drooping or the wrinkle in the pillow case put the kabosh on a possible sale… did we remember to put every single light in the entire house on before we left..and if we did will a bulb burn out while we’re away…did I empty the coffee grinds from the coffee maker… if yes, did the trash with the coffee grinds in it get taken out… did my husband forget to put his slippers away since he is no longer allowed to wear shoes in the house??? You get the picture…
So you can imagine how shocked, thrilled and elated we were to find out on Sunday evening we had a couple of offers, and by Monday we had a signed contract!!!
And by Tuesday we didn’t have to eat breakfast out!
Today I was really looking forward to making a nice dinner for the first time in a while. Last week there wasn’t a whole lot of cooking going on.
So for dinner tonight I made a recipe from The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, a holiday gift from my son and his girlfriend.
Written by Frances Mayes’s (the best-selling author of memoirs about Tuscany ), and her husband Edward Mayes, this is her first-ever cookbook. In it she and her husband share recipes they have enjoyed over the years as honorary Tuscans: dishes prepared in a simple, traditional kitchen using robust, honest ingredients.
Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes (serves 4)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces, dredged in about 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup mixed black and green olives, pitted
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup chopped oven-roasted tomatoes (recipe below) (Make in advance)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken pieces, 2 minutes on each side.
Season with the salt and pepper. Add the wine, raise the heat to high for 1 minute, and then transfer everything to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix the olives, parsley, and tomatoes, and pour this over the chicken.
Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces, turning the chicken once.
I spooned some of the sauce from the chicken over spaghetti as a side dish.
Roasted Tomato (The Tuscan Sun Cookbook)
…In summer, the trio of chopped, luscious tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs, sings the national anthem.
In winter, canned or boxed tomatoes attain a new depth of flavor during a long nap in the oven. The plump little darlings garnish a roast or chopped, wake up a last-minute risotto or frittata.
If you want heat, scatter a tablespoon of peperoncini, red pepper flakes, over the tomatoes while cooking.
60 or so cherry tomatoes, halved, stem ends trimmed; or 25 medium tomatoes, quartered; or 3 28-ounce cans San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained, cut into quarters.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried
5 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a parchment-lined 12 by 16-inch sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over them, scatter the herbs and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours, turning the tomatoes once.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes for bruschette,or simply press a tomato onto each crostino.
Leftover tomatoes can be packed into jars, topped with olive oil, and stored in the fridge for a week.
Okay, so you may not have been asking where has Dinner at Sheila’s been these last few weeks, but I have been asking myself that question, and there is a legitimate excuse for my absence of blogging.
We have been readying our house for its upcoming listing. I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post that we will be moving in early summer to the west coast. Since then things have been moving at lighting speed.
We talked the talk, and now we have to walk the walk, so my husband and I have been immersed in cleaning, de-cluttering, and reorganizing, to make sure that our beautiful home sparkles as the For Sale sign becomes the newest addition to our front landscape later this week.
It is an emotional roller coaster I’m riding as we begin the process of saying good-bye to life as we know it these past 25 years. The reality that our home will before too long become someone else’s is hard to get my head around. But, I’m trying.
Nonetheless, I feel sad that I have not been cooking and blogging as I normally would.
Don’t get me wrong…I am excited about the move and all it brings with it…a new home in a storybook like town to make our own, an entire new area of the country to explore, and being so much closer to our sons. These are true gifts, but this roller coaster has its ups and downs and we can’t jump off til it stops.
So the very least I thought I could do today for you and me is to post this recipe for Pasta with Roasted Caulifower, Sage and Walnut Sauce, which I contributed to the Food52 website about a year ago.
My inspiration for this sauce comes from a recipe for a Potato and Sage Gratin from the Festive Occasions Cookbook by Chuck Williams and Joyce Goldstein.
I combined this sauce which is flavored with garlic, sage, and nutmeg with roasted cauliflower, toasted walnuts and Pecorino Romano cheese and turned it into a yummy pasta dish. But, it’s good enough to stand alone as a side dish if you’re not in the mood for pasta!
Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Sage and Walnut Sauce
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into medium to large florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, (or combination heavy cream and half-and-half)
5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
8 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine plus a few whole leaves for garnish
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 pound celllentani pasta, cooked al dente (or pasta of your choosing)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally until browned and just tender, about 15 minutes.
4. While cauliflower is roasting, bring the milk, cream, garlic and sage to a boil in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
5. When the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put the cauliflower in a baking dish, scraping up any browned bits.
6. Pour the cream mixture over, cover with foil and let sit for 10 -15 minutes while you toast the walnuts in a dry skillet on top of the stove on low heat. When cool, coarsely chop the walnuts.
7. Bake the cauliflower, covered with foil for 20 minutes.
8. Remove the foil, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese and the chopped walnuts on top and bake, uncovered, another 10 minutes.
9. Remove the cauliflower and set aside.
10. Pour the cream from the gratin into a large saucepan and heat til it begins to thicken.
11. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss til coated. Place in pasta bowl and top with the cauliflower mixture.
12. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and sage leaves.
Romesco Sauce originates from Catalonia, Spain and is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, garlic, olive oil, and nyora peppers, a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper.
Other common ingredients can include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, and onion. Leaves of fennel, mint, or parsley can also be added.
It is most often served with seafood, but can be served with an array of other foods including vegetables, poultry, and beef. It is delicious spread on a toasted or grilled baguette as well.
I made a quick version of this sauce to serve with grilled shrimp and steak the other evening for dinner. I had purchased a small amount of tri-tip and some shrimp from Trader Joe’s so it was surf and turf for dinner, with some Romesco Sauce on the side.
There is plenty of room for flexibility in making this sauce. You can substitute roasted red pepper for the nyora pepper, any one or combination of the nuts mentioned above, your choice of vinegar and herbs, creating a sauce that suits your taste and the contents of your pantry at the moment.
This versatile sauce will keep well in the refrigerator and the flavor will only improve.
Romesco Sauce (adapted from Mark Bittman’s Tri-Tip: A Steak Worth the Hunt)
This ultra-thick, nicely marbled, strongly flavored steak is perfect for roasting, broiling, grilling or a combinbation of stove-top and oven cooking. It’s wonderfully suited to this practically instant version of romesco, the Catalan sauce more commonly used with fish. (If you can’t find tri-tip, use any thick cut of sirloin, or even steaks from the not -too -flavorful fillet, which will be helped immeasurably by the romesco.)
The key to this odd preparation-you make the steak and sauce at the same time, in the same pan-is getting the skillet really hot. Use a cast iron one if you have it. If not just use a good quality pan that can take the heat.
1 pound (26-30 per pound) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail on
1 medium red pepper (or long sweet red pepper)
9-12 grape tomatoes
3 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 - 3/4 cup almonds (roasted and salted)
1 jalapeno, optional
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, or 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and sherry wine vinegar combined
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and extra for brushing on shrimp
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roast a medium red bell or long sweet red pepper directly over a gas flame or uncder a preheated broiler until blackened all over. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Peel. Discard the seeds and stem, and coarsely chop the pepper.
Heat the skillet until it is very hot. Sear the steak and sauce ingredients-almonds, tomatoes, fresh garlic, and. if you like, jalapeno pepper- until charred.
Transfer the steak to a 500 degree oven to finish cooking. I chose to finish it off on a very hot grill since I was grilling the shrimp as well. Cook to medium rare.
In a food processor or blender, combine the tomato, garlic. peppers, almonds, vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. With the machine on, slowly blend in the olive oil.
Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Thread onto four metal skewers(10 to 14 inches). Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place shrimp on barbeque grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3-4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook shrimp, turning once, until opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 3 to 6 minutes total.
Remove steak from the grill and slice it in thick slices against the grain.
Remove shrimp, and place on plate with sliced steak. Serve with Romesco Sauce.
I know I mentioned in my last post that it was time to lighten up after all the rich holiday food we’ve eaten during the holidays. But, when I found myself with a few Cortland apples and one Granny Smith a bit past their prime, a small amount of salted caramel sauce (left over from the salted caramel apple pie from Thanksgiving)…yes, it really keeps that long in a covered container in the fridge, and enough heavy cream left in the quart container that was approaching its expiration date….what was I to do?
It seemed only right that I put it all together, turning it into a Caramelized Baked Apple. So easy and soooo gooood!
Caramelized Baked Apple
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Core the apple from the stem end, leaving the bottom intact. If you don’t have an apple corer I’ve found a melon baller works great for this task.
Peel about an inch of skin from the stem end.
Place the apples in a baking dish and pour about an inch of apple cider or apple juice around the apples.
Bake for 20 to 40 minutes until tender. This will vary depending on the size of the apples.
Place on serving dish, drizzle with caramel sauce, and serve with dollops of whipped cream. Grab a spoon and dig in…
Spaghetti and meat sauce is always a welcome meal during the winter months at our home. Nothing warms you like a plate of pasta smothered in a hearty red sauce. This is simple down home cooking at its best.
I developed this recipe many years ago when I was still a novice at cooking. However, I wasn’t thinking of it as recipe development at that time. I just figured combining beef, herbs and spices, veggies, store bought tomato sauce and paste with some red wine in my own way was a fairly safe way to spread my creativity wings. And still end up with an edible result…after all, how bad could it be?
Well, it wasn’t bad at all, and I’ve been making it ever since, tweaking it a little here or there. It has remained one of my husband’s favorite dishes that I make. My youngest brother has seconded that. We were living in Chicago as was he when I first made it. He still lives in Chicago, and still loves my meat sauce. In fact, he will usually come in for Thanksgiving a couple days early, and the dinner that usually awaits his arrival that evening is, you guessed it…Sheila’s Spaghetti and Hearty Meat Sauce!
It’s really something you can throw together pretty quickly, and let simmer on the stove with very little attention paid to it. I always make it in large enough quantities so that I
can have several meals tucked away in the freezer. Defrosting and reheating it only seems to improve the flavors.
In addition to serving it over spaghetti, it is wonderful with rigatoni or penne, both pastas that can stand up to the heartiness of the sauce.
Sheila’s Spaghetti and Hearty Meat Sauce
(makes 6-7 quarts, but can easily be reduced)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 pounds ground chuck (or ground beef), 85% lean
2 tablespoons crushed or minced garlic
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 large red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
4- 29 ounce cans tomato sauce
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
2-6 ounce cans tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup small imported spanish olives, sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the crumbled ground chuck, and stir occasionally until all traces of pink are gone. Remove the meat to a large colander over a bowl, allowing the fat to drain. Quickly rinse the meat with warm water to remove more fat if you want.
Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and when hot add the garlic, onions, red pepper, salt, pepper, and seasonings, except the bay leaves. Heat this mixture for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the cooked and drained ground meat to the pan and stir to combine. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and bay leaves. Stir to blend. Add the sliced olives, parsley, and mushrooms, if using. Bring to a boil, and immediately lower to a simmer, covered partially with the lid. Cook slowly for several hours, stirring occasionally to keep sauce from sticking to the bottom. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, cook the pasta of your choice al dente. Serve with a generous ladle of sauce, garnish with some additional chopped parsley, and pass the freshly grated pecorino romano, or parmigiana reggiano cheese.
Making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes is not something I do every day. But at this time of the year with the tomatoes plentiful, and ripening on the vine I try to make at least one pot of fresh sauce.
Plum tomatoes are best for this purpose because other varieties tend to be more watery. San Marzano are the preferred choice because they tend to be sweeter and full-flavored.
I grew 3 San Marzano plants this year for the first time and couldn’t wait to try them in this sauce . I found several recipes for tomato sauce in The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan. This is her Tomato Sauce II which is found on page 94. Quoting her, this sauce ” has a fresher, more delicate flavor. There are two reasons for this. First, the tomato is cooked much less, just enough to concentrate it, but not so long that its garden-sweet taste is altered. Second, the vegetables are cooked right along with the tomato instead of undergoing a preliminary sauteing in oil. It is an excellent all-purpose sauce for every kind of pasta, from spaghettini to such thicker, stubby cuts as penne or ziti.”
The sauce is simple to make , but is a little time consuming, so choose a day when you can devote some time in the kitchen. Believe me, it will be worth it.
2 pounds fresh, ripe plum tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Wash the tomatoes in cold water. Cut them in half lengthwise. Cook in a covered stockpot or saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the carrot, celery, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and sugar and cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
3. Puree everything through a food mill, return to the pan, add the olive oil, and cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes more. Taste and correct for salt.
This sauce is delicious as is. Additionally, you can add your choice of fresh herbs to the finished sauce, stir and simmer for 8-10 minutes. When your pasta is ready, stir 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino roman cheese, 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon olive oil into the sauce, off the heat. Stir thoroughly and quickly and pour over the pasta. Serve with additional cheese on the side. Serves 6