I’m offering a flexible recipe here because I’ve realized that there are about as many ways to make tomato sauce as there are people who make it. None of them are wrong (though if you dig around comment sections, no doubt someone will remark that all of them are terribly wrong). All will yield a delicious pot of sauce from fresh tomatoes that is nothing like you can buy in a jar. No fresh tomatoes where you are? Skip the preparation steps and use canned whole tomatoes with some of their juices, add more if needed. Horrified by all of those non-tomato additions? Skip to the end for the most straightforward tomato sauce.
Note: Have a food mill? You can run your tomatoes through them on a fine setting and it will remove both the seeds and the skin. You can then skip the first two sets of instructions. Do I have a food mill? Yes I do!
Yield: About 4 cups sauce
4 pounds sad, unloved tomatoes (some swear by romas, I’ve had success with all varieties)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 3 small cloves of garlic
1/2 medium carrot
1/2 stalk of celery
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
Slivers of fresh basil, to finish
Peel your tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small X at the bottom of each tomato. Blanche the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, then either rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath. Peeling the tomatoes should now be a cinch. If one gives you trouble, toss it back in the boiling water for another 10 seconds until the skin loosens up. Discard the skins (or get crafty with them).
Finish preparing your tomatoes: If using plum tomatoes, halve each lengthwise. If using beefsteak or another round variety, quarter them. Squeeze the seeds out over a strainer over a bowl and reserve the juices. (You can discard the seeds, or get crafty with them.) Either coarsely chop you tomatoes on a cutting board or use a potato masher to do so in your pot, as you cook them in a bit.
Prepare your vegetables: I finely chop my onion, and mince my carrot, celery and garlic, as does Bastianich. Batali grates his carrots. Burell pulses all four on the food processor to form a paste. All of these methods work.
Cook your sauce: Heat your olive oil in a large pot over meduim. Cook your onions, carrots, celery and garlic, if you’re using them, until they just start to take on a little color, about 10 minutes. I really like to concentrate their flavor as much as possible. Add your tomatoes and bring to a simmer, lowering the heat to medium-low to keep it at a gentle simmer. If you haven’t chopped them yet, use a potato masher to break them up as you cook them. Simmer your sauce, stirring occasionally. At 30 minutes, you’ll have a fine pot of tomato sauce, but at 45 minutes, you might just find tomato sauce nirvana: more caramelized flavors, more harmonized texture.
If your sauce seems to be getting thicker than you want it to be, add back the reserved tomato juice as need. If your sauce is too lumpy for your taste, use an immersion blender to break it down to your desired texture. (“Blasphemy!” some will say, but they’re not in the kitchen with you. So there.) Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and more to taste. I like somewhere between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon for 4 pounds of tomatoes. Scatter fresh basil over the pot before serving. Taste once more. Swear you’ll never buy jarred sauce again.
More ways to play around: There are innumerable ways to tweak your tomato sauce. Some like a pinch of red pepper flakes cooked with the carrots/celery/garlic and onion in the beginning. Some add them at the end. Some swear by a glug of red wine added with the tomatoes. Others insist that a tablespoon of tomato paste will give your relatively quick-cooked sauce a longer-cooked flavor. Have fun with it.
To play around as little as possible: Skip the onion, carrot and celery. Just cook your tomatoes for 30 to 45 minutes and at the end, drizzle in some olive oil or melted butter. If you have time, you can infuse that oil or butter with garlic and basil. Season to taste with salt. Wonder why you ever added so many ingredients to something so obviously perfect without them.
(Adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/08/fresh-tomato-sauce/)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
Shake confectioners’ sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
Mix together and leave in a warm spot (about 70-75 degrees F.) for 24 hours, or until thick. Refrigerate for 24 hours before using. Should last a week or two.
Serves 4 as side dish or first course
2 cups once cooked mashed potatoes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 lg. egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs, fine (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper, finely ground
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt.
2. Beat egg lightly
3. In bowl of food processor, combine potatoes with flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, pulse to blend.
4. Add egg, pulse until ingredients are well incorporated and mixture forms ball. (dough should be stiff – add flour if needed).
5. Remove from food processor, place on lightly floured work surface.
6. Knead several times.
7. Measure out spoonfuls of dough using wet spoon
8. Form into small balls with wet hands and drop into boiling salted water. Reduce heat to medium.
9. Cook about 2-3 minutes until dumplings float to the surface.
Accompanied by roast meats and poultry, and topped with gravy
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
1 oregano sprig (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano)
Pinch chili flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
0.5 pound dried angel hair pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chiffonade basil, plus whole sprigs for garnish
Eat with chicken or italian sausage
1. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
2. Add the thyme leaves, oregano sprig, and chili flakes and saute until the garlic begins to turn golden brown.
3. Add the tomatoes and the sugar and stir well.
4. Lower the heat and cook slowly until the mixture is fairly dry, about 15 minutes.
5. Cook the angel hair pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente.
6. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
7. Add the Parmesan and basil and toss well.
3.5 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/12 cup, or 4 teaspoon, dried)
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In large saucepan, cook tomatoes and basil over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft.
2. Meanwhile, in medium skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
3. Add onion mixture to tomato mixture and add salt and pepper. Let simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until thick.
Next time, seed tomatoes
Lower amt of onion
Mix grate garlic before serving (I think the 2+ hours of stewing kill the garlic flavor)
use fresh basil 😦
1 1 /3 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
3.5 cup flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, grated
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped. Do not finely chop.
salt to taste
1. Proof the yeast: In the bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let mixture stand about 10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and the liquid is milk latte frothy. (Boil large volume of water so you have enough steam to maintain water temperature in the mixing bowl. Glass has a very high specific heat and will significantly lower the temperature of your water in the bowl.)
2. Mix in flour, olive oil, and sugar until combined. Add salt in the last Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding extra flour as needed. (When knead, stretch out the bread as far as you can between kneading intervals).
3. If using entire batch of dough, seal in a zip-lock bag and let sit in the fridge over night (otherwise, divide dough into two bags stashing one in the freezer and the other in the fridge).
The refrigerator will allow the flour and yeast to rehydrate. Also, this will allow the bacteria to generate acid taste and lower yeast activity (rising)).
4. When ready to make knots, remove dough from the fridge, fold it into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning so that the entire ball of dough is coated. Cover bowl with a damp towel (or big t-shirt) and let dough rise in a warm spot for two or three hours.
I do not have a kitchen light on my oven. Thus, I leave the oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes. Then, I placed my dough (in a glass mixing bowl covered with a t-shirt) into the oven. Don’t worry you think its too hot, the glass will take a while before it heats up. Keep checking on it until the dough has doubled (2 hours).
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the center.
6. Once dough has doubled in size, punch down and turn-it-out onto a floured cutting board or surface. Using a sharp knife, divide dough into desired number of dough nuggets. Working one by one, roll the ball into a snake and quickly tie the snake into a knot. With this recipe, you should get ~30 two bite size balls.
7. Place finished knots on parchment lined-baking sheets.
8. Cover the rolls with an eggwash and spray sugar water if needed.
9. Bake for 13-15 minutes on the bottom rack
1. Combine butter and oil in a saucepan and warm over low heat.
2. Grate garlic into the butter and oil mixture.
3. Add in parsley and salt to taste.
Do not under/over heat the parsley. There is a small window where the parsley is MOST fragrant.
When knots come out of an oven,
1. Immediately dump into a large bowl. Add sauce and toss until balls are evenly coated.
2. Brush the sauce over the rolls with a pasty brush.
Delicious. The eggwash didn’t brown the balls enough, use sugar water next time.
Why does this recipe refrigerate first and then ferment? (Cool rise)
It’s called retarding the dough or cool rise. A cool rise, also known as a refrigerator rise, is when yeasted dough, whether shaped or unshaped, is placed in the refrigerator to rise slowly. The cold slows the yeast’s activity, allowing for more flavor and an interesting texture to develop.
When bakers use a sourdough or sponge starter culture, where the yeast is allowed to ferment over a long period of time or chill a dough and slow down its rise, the cold dramatically reduces yeast activity. The bacteria, on the other hand, function well even in cold temperatures, so they now have an opportunity to thrive, producing many more marvelously flavorful acids. However, there are a number of chemicals naturally present in dough that promote the breakdown of gluten. This is one of the reasons you cannot hold the dough infinitely long in a fermentation to improve its flavor.
½ cups Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
3 whole 14.5 Ounce Cans Diced (or Whole) Tomatoes
½ cups White Wine
2 pounds Jumbo Or Large Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parsley, Minced
1 pound Linguine, Uncooked
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
1. Cook pasta for 1/2 the recommended cooking time. Pasta should still be very firm.
2. In a large skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for less than a minute.
3. Dump in the tomatoes and wine. Stir the mixture together, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cook for ten minutes. The sauce will still contain a lot of liquid but don’t worry, the pasta will soak it up 🙂
4. Meanwhile, prepare a large parcel of heavy duty aluminum foil. It should be large enough to hold the entire pasta dish.
5. Throw the shrimp on the top of the pasta sauce. Throw the drained pasta over the top, then pour the whole dish onto the foil. Tightly wrap the foil into a parcel.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm until serving.
7. Open the foil parcel right before serving. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the top. Squeeze on lemon juice, if desired.
Chicken Kebab Marinate
3 Chicken Quarters, cut into 1″ pieces (suggested 2 pounds)
Cumin powder: ½ Tablespoon
Cayenne powder: ½ Tablespoon
Ground Black Pepper: ½ Tablespoon
Degi Mirch or Paprika: ½ Tablespoon
Salt: 0.75 Tablespoon
Ground Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder: ½ teaspoon, not curry powder
Fresh Ginger finely chopped: 1 Inch
Ghee (Clarified Butter): 2 Tablespoon
Onions finely chopped (almost pureed): ½ Cup
Garlic minced: 4 Cloves
Ginger finely chopped (almost pureed): 1 Inch
Cumin Powder: ½ Table spoon
Cinnamon powder: ¼ teaspoon
Cayenne Pepper: 1 teaspoon
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon, not curry powder
Degi Mirch: 2 teaspoon
Tomato puree: 1 Cup
Heavy whipping cream: ½ cup
Chicken Kebab: Mix all ingredients except chicken.
Add slits to the chicken. Add ingredients to chicken and put it in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Remove chicken from marinate. (Do not debone chicken. This recipe does not have yogurt, which will protect the chicken from getting dry. Instead, we will use the natural chicken skin to keep moisture from leaving the chicken)
Step 2: Line a baking pan with Aluminum foil shiny side up.
Put chicken in the pan. Pre-heat oven to 450º F. Bake chicken quarters for about 20 minutes. Turn over the chicken. bake 15 minutes or till done. (Tip: For chicken pieces with bone attached, bake longer than 10 minutes)
Step 3: Tikka Masala.
Heat Ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
Sautee onions till clear. Add Garlic and ginger. Continue sautéing. Add cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and turmeric powder.
Sautee another two minutes. Add tomato puree.
Bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes.
Stir in Degi Mirch, cream and cashews. Simmer on medium heat till you have a nice consistency of a thick gravy.
(Adapted from http://www.indiacurry.com/chicken/cx007chixtikkamasala.htm)
Note 2 (1/15/12, at Cathy’s House):
Used smoked paprika, grounded whole cinnamon, no cashews, Tomato puree from can
Doubled Tikki Masala w/ 3 chicken thighs (4 chicken thighs would be perfect!)
Slightly too salty, good flavor