The original plan for this week was to publish my Chianti Sauce recipe. However, since that sauce, like the traditional vodka sauce that inspired it, begins with a finished tomato sauce, it seemed appropriate to offer first the tomato sauce I used, and to continue next week with the recipe for converting it to Chianti Sauce.
Should the mention of home-made tomato sauce conjure images of standing over a large pot of bubbling liquid with a wooden spoon for a couple of hours, you're in the right place. With great pleasure, I offer you this recipe for an Easy, No-Cook Tomato Sauce.
If you love watching cooking shows on television as much as I do, you may have noticed a couple of recent trends that (it seems to me, anyway) are related:
- High level chefs and cooks are increasingly making the point that we’ve let making good tomato sauce become a lot more complicated than it has to be.
- Even in this age of high-tech electric kitchen gadgets, the humble (and, let me be sure to mention, inexpensive) food mill remains one of the greatest pieces of kitchen equipment you can own, especially if you like making sauces and soups.
A food mill, for the unfamiliar, is something like a colander, except it has a manual crank device that forces food through the holes. It’s a delightfully low-tech piece of pureeing equipment that has one significant advantage over its cousin, the food processor: a food mill naturally filters out the solids after the liquid has been squeezed out. (You can also use it for tasks like ricing potatoes and forming spaetzle. Try doing either of those with a food processor.)
This recipe makes about one quart of a tomato sauce I think you’ll find so delicious you won’t believe how easy it is to make.
After grating one medium carrot and chopping 2 stalks of celery, set aside 2 tablespoons of each for later use. Combine the remaining carrot and celery pieces with 1-1/2 tablespoons of chopped onion, 6 cloves of garlic, one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, two 6-ounce cans of tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of dried basil, 1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar and and ½ teaspoon of chili powder in a non-metallic bowl and put through a food mill. (If your food mill has more than choice of orifice plate, use the plate with the widest holes.) Scrape the underside of the orifice plate into the milled mixture. Discard the remaining solids in the bowl of the food mill.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the milled mixture and stir till combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, then the sauce rest for at least 30 minutes before using. When you add the sauce to your dish, garnish with some of the reserved celery and carrot mixture. (In the photo at the top, the sauce was used on hand-made pasta and topped with baked flounder.)
As always, if you prefer a cookbook style, notebook-ready version of this recipe (or any other Kissing the Cook recipe), ask and it shall be given!
Now that you have this easy, delicious tomato sauce, visit again next week for how to turn it into a very special Chianti sauce! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)