fast and fresh tomato sauce

Oh lordy I have so many tomatoes!  It’s “almost” pomodoro time – yep – simple and sweet.  And you slice the garlic, not chop.  Sautée some onions, add fresh herbs….it will be delicious…this is not quite a pomodoro and only “almost” because I have meat and do add a little tomato paste, but omit the meat and paste and it will be more traditional.

Simple, fast, fresh.

A few cloves of thin sliced garlic (today I used six)  

3 small onions sliced (3 little yellows from the farmers market in thin slices and then rings)

fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, divided

tomatoes (I have half a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes and a bunch of ripe red)

fresh mozzarella (bought this crazy amazing mozzarella from the Hamptons  home)

salt

pepper

fresh oregano

fresh parsley

4 sausage patties (Italian sweet – they were in the freezer – or you can omit meat altogether)

a small amount of dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted in white wine

hot pepper

smoked paprika

tomato paste

olive oil

pasta of choice

Brown the sausage.  Remove from pan, drain out on paper towels.

Toss a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in pan and cook garlic and onions.  Until sort of starting to caramelize (a golden brown color but not burnt).

Add the reconstituted mushrooms, juice and all.

Add the tomatoes. (which have been chopped, except for cherries, which were halved)

Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, a dash or two of hot pepper flakes and a dash of smoked paprika

Cook down a bit.  Add some paste.  The smallest can is 6 oz – use one of those if you use paste.  Add cooked and now crumbled sausage back to sauce.

Cook your pasta.

When you put pasta and sauce together add chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano) and diced up fresh mozzarella.

Serve with a nice bottle of wine if you so choose, some crusty bread and a simple salad of arugula and romaine.

Enjoy

not your mama’s pasta salad

When it is hot, even I don’t want to cook as much.  So today I was feeling like pasta salad, but I wanted something different from spiral pasta or say, tortellini.  I opened the freezer and grabbed a bag of mini ravioli.  Why not?  If you can make a tortellini salad, why not use mini ravioli?

So I created a vinaigrette and added a bit of fresh lemon juice, some mustard and a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and whisked it together.  If you wanted to you could use a store-bought salad dressing.  I would suggest if that was the case, an  Italian or Caesar or Balsamic vinaigrette.

I cooked the mini ravioli to the minimum of cooking time as per the package.  I drained them and put them in a bowl to cool.

In another bowl I took a Vidalia onion, cucumber, a couple of tomatoes, fresh green beans blanched and chopped, half a jar of roasted peppers chopped up, fresh herbs (parsley, basil, and dill), a cup or so of chick peas (“ceci”), and a small jalapeno pepper (seeded, cored, and diced), tossed it in the dressing, and then gently folded in the cooled mini ravioli.

I adjusted for salt and pepper, et voila!  Not your mama’s pasta salad.

I may toss some fresh crumbled queso fresco on it when I serve it. Or I might just leave it as it.  I love queso fresco.

*Important to note is to NOT overmix this or the ravioli will literally rupture.  Do NOT over dress this or the ravioli will fall apart from that too.

I think it tastes pretty good!

Hmmm I just realized about a year ago, Conde Nast contacted me to use another one of my everything but the  kitchen sink recipes in a cookbook being published in the Fall of 2012.  I need to follow up about that – I do not even know what the cookbook is to be called…..

pasta sauce and rainy evenings

Since the swelter fest has taken a break today, I decided it was for some pasta.  And a fun sauce.  And before we get to that can someone please tell me why people were wearing sweaters today like it was cold?

So the sauce.  I took my Bolognese and changed it up.  First I sautéed a huge Vidalia onion with 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil with salt in the bottom of a Dutch Oven.

Then I added some chopped fresh oregano and a couple of bay leaves off my bay leaf tree.

Then I chopped up into fairly small, yet uniform pieces two giant Portobello mushrooms.  I tossed their stems – too tough.

Then I tossed in a pound of ground veal and half a pound of sweet Italian sausage no casing.  Cooked it through, added about a cup of milk, cooked that off. Then I added about half a cup of Rose wine (it was what was opened), cooked that off.  Then I chopped into smallish pieces but not tiny about 2/3 of a cup of roasted red sweet peppers and tossed them into the pot.

Next a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of crushed tomatoes with tomato puree, and a couple of squeezes out of an open tube of tomato paste.  And oh yes, salt and pepper to taste and basil and a little more oregano.

Cooked it through for about another hour, prepared some cavatelli and introduced sauce to cavatelli.

Perfect rainy evening meal.