Before we get into it, a few announcements.
1- I am kicking ass and taking names at my job. At least, as of today. Feeling hot, hot, hot.
2- Our well-beloved couch is thankfully being delivered this Saturday after someone told us weekend delivery was out of the question. Hah! Kicking ass again.
3- In case the comments on the last post had you worried, my mom has approved the couch, and thankfully suggested other items that might complement it, since that’s all we’ve got so far.
5- Our friends J and B are getting married in Syracuse in October. I’m 90% positive they don’t read this blog, but I’d like to give them my congratulations anyway. Good luck on the weather guys.
Now, on to the main event!
Geeves’ Special Sauce
G has decided he prefers the name “Geeves” in the public forum. I’m pretty sure most of you know his real name already, but if you’re a bloggy friend, feel free to list your guesses in the comments. If you guess right (and you don’t know him) I’ll send you some kind of special gift (chocolate??) Good luck.
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1-16 oz. can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, crushed
4 Roma or on-the-vine tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (don’t be bashful)
1 green bell pepper, diced
8 kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
1 cup red wine (Geeves: If you wouldn’t drink it at a restaurant, don’t cook with it on your stove. You will taste the difference.)
1/3 bunch fresh basil, cleaned and cut into ribbons
Red pepper flakes
Cracked black pepper
You’ll notice that this recipe makes use of canned tomatoes. We’ve made it both ways – entirely from scratch (using more tomatoes and the same method) or this way, using modern, canned conveniences. G’s thoughts: “Like anything, if you go 100% straight from the ground to the pot, it’s going to taste better. But this saves a lot of time and you’re still going to blow traditional sauce away.”
Bring a large pasta pot with water to a boil. Wash the tomatoes. Using a paring knife, core the top of the tomato where the vine connects. Tip: Pinch the blade close to the tip as opposed to the handle and go in about as deep as a thumbnail. This keeps you from going too deep and will also help you core faster. Score the bottom of each tomato with an X – this will make the skins fall off easier. Prepare an “ice bath” for the tomatoes – a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes will work perfectly.
Drop tomatoes, two at a time into the boiling water. Leave them in there for 30-40 seconds total. You should be able to SEE the skins separate as they boil. Remove them with rubber tongs (or a slotted spoon) and drop them into the ice bucket to stop the cooking. Drop the following two tomatoes into the boiling water and repeat. Remove the tomatoes from the ice bath.
Peel the skin from the tomatoes. Start from the bottom where you scored the skin. Slip the blade of the paring knife under the skin, placing your thumb on the other side of the skin against the blade. The skins should peel off easily – I’ve done this without a knife.
Halve the tomatoes on the equator. Gently squeeze each half to drain out all the juice and the seeds, using your fingers to work out the additional pulp. You will not need to use the juice/seeds for this recipe, so either reserve for another recipe or COMPOST.
Chop your tomatoes for inclusion into the sauce. We like to keep them fairly chunky to add texture.
Heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until almost golden. Service announcement: Don’t burn the garlic. Add onions, peppers, a few rounds of S&P and cook until onions are soft and yellow, and peppers are starting to become tender. Next, add the wine, stirring occasionally as you let it reduce by 3/4.
Add the fresh tomatoes, olives, and cremini mushrooms. At this point, you can pretty much cook the mixture as long as you want. The flavors will start to meld together and the vegetables will start to break down. We typically go for approximately 10-15 minutes, adding wine as necessary. We like the peppers and veggies to stay slightly crunchy so it’s all a matter of preference here. It’s going to basically look like salsa dyed with wine.
Pour in the canned tomatoes and add your spices. The spices are almost all to taste, but the more seasoning the better. It is unlikely to taste too salty, peppery, basily, etc. You are flavoring vegetables. Obviously, in this version we are using canned tomatoes to quicken the process, but if you use a good brand, there won’t be too much flavoring or sugar.
Keep at a simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken. Fill your pasta pot with water again and bring to a boil. Cook your pasta and serve with your impressive homemade sauce and grated pecorino-romano. Any leftovers can be easily freezed in zip lock bags for future use.
I learn all my tricks from Kath. This is how you should store your sauce/soups in the fridge: