Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best basic tomato sauce ever

It is Sunday, finally a day off from thinking about work and just lingering, shoveling some snow, not too much, 3 inches, not too cold, just 15F, and sunshine. Getting the remaining groceries I did not get yesterday while shopping at the grocery store with the shortest path from Starbucks. This the morning I started cooking a long, slow cooked tomato sauce with San Marzano tomatoes (RedPack seem to be the best, but no avail around the woods of Maine). It called for ‘put together the ingredients and then slowly cook for 1 hour for the flavors to fuse.” This is key --- the long, slow cooking to bring out the flavors, make the sauce denser and sweet. Typically I would rip the sauce off the stove after 10 minutes cooking. --- Long slow cooking, so worth it for this sauce. It would be great also cooking in a slow cooker.

It was bubbling away while I shoveled snow. In the evening, I made meatballs, a combination of lean beef and lean turkey, and an eggwhite slushy mixed up in the Vitamix with a garlic clove, a bit of sweet onion, cilantro, some salt and pepper, pan fried and then cooked in the sauce for another hour. Quite right for a Sunday evening meal --- spaghetti and meatballs. Now, what to watch on TV? The Grammys? Downton Abbey? The Kardashians? The Housewives of Atlanta? or some Bachelor who actually for once made it to his wedding? Decisions, decisions…. 

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Best simple tomato sauce ever (with meatballs)
Makes 4-5 servings:
  • 1 large can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 regular can tomato sauce
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1/2 sweet onion, small diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ts butter
  • 1/4 cup red wine or beef broth and 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2-1 TB turbinado sugar (raw cane sugar)
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onions on medium heat until they slightly brown.

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Microplane 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot.

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Add a teaspoon of butter at this point, and melt in.

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Gently fry the garlic (make sure it does not burn) and add the red wine (or beef broth) to the onion mix. Use a wood laddle and scrap the brown, caramelized bits off from the bottom of the pot.

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Cook off the liquid until the onions are almost dry again.
In a blender, puree the tomatoes (or break up by hand or with a potato masher if you like a chunky sauce).
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Add  1 can of tomato sauce (not pictured) and 2 TB of tomato paste.
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Stir the tomato sauce in the pan to mix all the ingredients well. Crush fresh ground pepper over the sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover with a heavy lid, and simmer on medium low heat (barely bubbling) for 1h.
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Meanwhile, make meatballs (if you like). Otherwise, finish off the sauce with some fresh basil and a half tablespoon turbinado sugar. --- Done.
Meatballs:
  • 5oz lean beef
  • 5 oz lean turkey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 garlic glove, peeled
  • 1/2 peeled sweet onion
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • frew branches of cilantro
  • 3 TB  of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
In a blender, mix together the eggwhite, the garlic clove, sweet onion, salt,  pepper and cilantro, and make a slushy. It makes sure that the flavors distribute through the meatballs.
Mix together the meats, slushy and bread crumbs.
From small balls in your hands, and fry in a pan from all sides (my seem to always come out at triangles).
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Once browned at to the sauce, and cook for another 45h min. (Just imagine how the meat infused tomato sauce will taste).
Now, make pasta of your choice, and dinner is ready.
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