Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Fancy Tomato Sauce

Summer is not my favorite season, but I like it for the vast amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits. And with our patio garden in full bloom, we have a nice selection of herbs and "raw materials" to work with when we cook.

I'll share the recipe of the week in two parts. Part 1 features a classic tomato sauce that you can serve over fish or chicken, and Part 2 is a dressed up version loaded with vegetables and meat, known around our house as garden vegetable tomato sauce, that goes real well over pasta. If you are looking for a recipe that will help use up some of your fresh produce, you'll love this dish for it's rich, balanced, flavor.

Easy Tomato Sauce

2 lb roma tomatoes, chopped, or 2 15oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sugar
4 tbsp white wine (or chicken stock)
salt, and pepper to taste

Heat oil in frying pan and cook garlic and onion until golden and fragrant.
Add parsley, paprika, and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaf.
You can puree the tomato sauce or leave it chunky.

Garden Vegetable Tomato Meat Sauce

2 cups of easy tomato sauce (see above)
1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 lb hot italian sausages, remove from casing
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of grated carrots
2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp lemon thyme
1 tbsp oregano
Additional garlic, onions and parsley optional

Cook hot italian sausages and drain off excess fat.
If you're using more garlic and onions (highly recommended), add this to sausage and cook until fragrant.
Add vegetables, cook over medium high heat until soft.
Stir in tomato sauce and can of tomatoes; simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Stir in herbs just before turning off the heat.
Serve over whole wheat pasta.

p.s. my new leaf-embellished plate is handmade by Mary Thomas Firestone. Check out her ongoing show Natural Tapestries and browse her other work at Artists' Own.

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