Late Summer Pasta Sauce

Well its mid-September here on long island. I have a bumper crop of tomatoes. So, we need to get busy cooking the beefsteaks. First up is a sweet late summer pasta sauce. This will consume four of the large ones, and it will freeze nicely. This way I can have the fresh tastes of the late summer well into the early winter.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Four large tomatoes
  • 3 sausage links
  • Duck Walk red wine
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 Italian peppers
  • 1 cup diced white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Water (about four cups)
  • Oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt

In a heavy cast pot drizzle a little olive oil. Every good sauce starts with a little olive oil. Then add the minced garlic. Remove the casings from the sausage and crumble the ground pork into the pot. Mince the onion and add that to the pot. Stir this up while the pork browns. A bit of fond should be forming on the bottom of the pot. Deglaze with a splash or tow of red wine, then pour in about four cups of water.

 

Core and de-seed the tomatoes. Dice the exteriors and toss into the pot. Then toss the cores into the blender. Blend to puree. Add this to the pot. Add the tomato paste. Add the oregano, two bay leaves and salt. Let this simmer a while to blend together (about an hour).

 

Dice the zucchini and peppers. Add these to the pot. Check the fluid level. If the sauce is too thick you can always add a bit more water. If it’s not thick enough you can cover it with a splatter screen and cook out the water. Let this cook about fifteen minutes to a half hour and then add in the mushrooms.

 

Let this simmer while you make the pasta. You don’t want to give those mushrooms too much time to cook. You want to keep them a bit firm. If you plan on freezing this batch of sauce, I would recommend not putting the mushrooms. Instead, add them later when you thaw the sauce out. Few things are as mushy and bland as a thawed out mushroom.

tomatoes

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Comfort Soup – Tomato Basil w Anchovy

A hot bowl of creamy tomato basil soup wards off the winter chill. What’s nice about this soup is that it in contains no fresh tomatoes. Nope, the canned ones work better than the fresh ones in this soup. So, you can make this comfort food from stockpiles in the pantry. For the more adventurous amongst my reads, it’s true, you can add a small can of anchovies to this soup after you blend the tomatoes and it will add a whole lot of salty, fishy, goodness…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small can anchovy fillets
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Start by sautéing the onion, garlic, and basil in olive oil, then add the tomatoes, broth, and a dash of sea salt. Let this cook together in the pot for about an hour.

Grab your immersion blender and blend this till is nice and smooth. Add in the anchovies and half and half and let that simmer another fifteen minutes or so.

When you’re ready to ladle this out, get some nice heavy stoneware bowls and top the soup with some freshly grated parmesan I like to serve this with garlic bread, also topped with parmesan (or a small anchovy pizza).

Holloween “Blood” Soup

As holloween approaches I thought I would share with you the secret to “blood” soup. A perfect soup course to any holiday par-tay! Impress your friends and gross out the neighbors.

  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise and place them, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast this until the tomatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until toasty and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock  and deglaze. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and dried crushed red pepper. Bring this to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Then break out your immersion blender.

I can’t say enough nice things about immersion blenders these things are just essential to good soup making. You don’t have to transfer stuff from a hot pot to a cold blender, nope! just blend to a consistency of your choosing right there in the pot. Note well! PLEASE, make sure the blender is fully immersed before you turn it on, and after you turn it off. Trust me, your walls and shirt, especially the really nice white ones, will thank you if you do.

Ladle this out and serve in nice soup bowls. Top with a garnish of fresh chopped basil and accompany with toasted garlic baguette slices.