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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fresh Tomato Sauce

You remember my bruschetta from a couple of days ago?

When I was dicing up the plum tomatoes, I was wishing that the ones I have growing in my garden would just ripen already so that I can make fresh tomato sauce.

And I couldn't stop thinking about it, to the point where it was all that I wanted.

And then I thought, oh, what the heck, why don't I just go and buy some tomatoes and just get it over with!

So that's what I did.  Bought the tomatoes, and made the to-die-for sauce.  And I still can't wait for my own plum tomatoes to ripen so that I can do it all again!



Playlist
  • "Solo Per Te (Only For You)".......Lou Monte
  • "Twistin' The Night Away".......Sam Cooke
  • "Under My Skin"......Bobby Caldwell
  • "I've Got The World On A String"....Michael Buble
  • "That's Amore"....Dean Martin
  • "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)".....The Chords
  • "They Can't Take That Away From Me"......Frank Sinatra
  • "This Old Heart Of Mine"........The Isley Brothers
  • "Eh Cumpari"......Julius LaRosa

Pasta With Fresh Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. of your favorite pasta

Gather your ingredients.

Then, take care of the most labor-intensive, time-consuming part of this whole process--preparing the tomatoes.

Set a large pot of water on your stove to boil.  Next to the pot, fill a bowl with ice water.

Place an empty bowl next to the ice water.

Core the tomatoes.  Use a sharp knife, run it around the stem and pop it out.  Make an "X" on the bottom of the tomato.  This will help with the peeling.

Place small batches (about 5 or 6 at a time) of tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1 minute.  You don't want them to cook, just loosen the skins.

After one minute, remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice water.

This is what should happen.  The skins start to split when they're boiled, and then start to peel in the ice water.

Use your knife to grab the skins and pull them off.  Place the peeled tomatoes in the empty bowl.

Repeat, boiling small batches, until all of the tomatoes are peeled.

Place your peeled tomatoes onto a cutting board and cut them in half.


Remove the seeds from the tomato halves.  You can do this with a spoon, or just pull the seeds out with your fingers.

I use my fingers.  It's so much quicker.

Now I have a nice pile of peeled, seeded tomato halves.

In a 6-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper, salt and ground black pepper.  I used about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 10 turns of the pepper grinder.

Add the tomatoes.  Cover and let them cook for a few minutes to get soft.

Amazing, how quickly they start to cook.  After a few minutes they will be soft and start releasing their liquid.

Use a potato masher to chop the tomatoes and smush them to a pulp.

Reduce the heat to a high simmer, cover, and let them cook for about 20 more minutes.

While the sauce cooks, bring a large (8-quart) pot of salted water to a boil.

While you're waiting for the water to boil, shred your basil and grate your Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente.

Admire your finished sauce.  Sorry for the blurry picture, I didn't realize the camera lens was getting fogged from the steam of the hot sauce.

I always save a ladle full of the pasta water before I drain the pasta, just in case I need it to thin the sauce.

Drain the pasta, and add it back into the pot with about half of the sauce (you should have about 4 cups of sauce).

Also add the butter, and most of the Parmesan and the basil (reserve a bit of the Parmesan and the basil for garnishing).

Stir together over low to medium heat, until the butter is melted and the cheese is incorporated into the sauce. 

If you feel that it is too thick, add a bit of the reserved cooking water to thin it a bit.


Serve immediately, topped with extra sauce, basil and cheese.
Enjoy!



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