Monday, May 14, 2012

TK's Recipe of the Week or Month or Whatever

I know I said we weren't going to see each other until tomorrow, but I made this crazy good tomato-basil sauce last night and I gotta tell you about it. I was having vegetarians over for dinner, so it's a vegetarian sauce but you could put meat in it. They seemed to enjoy spooning it into their sallow, weak vegetarian bodies, to the extent that you can enjoy anything in life if you're vegetarian. I'm taking the leftovers and putting Italian sausage in it tonight.

The recipe comes mostly from Bon Appetit, with a couple of tweaks.


Makes a lot. Like enough for 6 people with some left over.

4 /12 cups canned crushed tomatoes (i.e., about 1 1/2 28-oz cans)
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3/8 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil, divided
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients note: I used crushed tomatoes with oregano already in 'em, so I left out the oregano. Pine nuts are super fucking expensive so be careful yanking the arm down on the bulk bin dispenser or you might have just bought yourself $75 worth of pine nuts. Seriously, are pine nuts individually harvested and cleaned by hand or something?

OK, so put 1 cup of the tomatoes in a blender or food processor or whatever you've got along with the pine nuts and blend until it's really smooth, like a minute.

Heat the oil in a big pot and throw in the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Saute that until the onion is soft, so like 5 minutes or so. Then throw in the rest of the tomatoes and maybe half a cup of chopped basil and the wine and the tomato mixture from the blender. Then simmer that thing for a while.

Bon Appetit says "Simmer sauce until flavors blend, 5 to 6 minutes." The fuck? Simmering 5 minutes is like having sex for 5 minutes. You feel rushed and things don't get a chance to develop well. Simmer that thing as long as you like, but at least 30 minutes. That also makes it thicken up, which I prefer.

I should say here that I wasn't thinking about what I was doing and dumped 2 whole cans of crushed tomatoes in instead of just 4 1/2 cups but it was all cool. I just put in more of everything. It turned out great.

You'll probably want to put in more crushed red pepper too. I don't know if Bon Appetit is an infant or Norwegian or something, but 3/8 teaspoon isn't going to make anything "spicy."

Shit was off the heezy. Serve over pasta or polenta or whatever the fuck you like.


Tamagosan said...

Good call on the red chili flakes. One note on the cooking time: Sometimes you just have time to simmer for 5 minutes. Sometimes any sauce is good sauce.

Also, I "harvested" pine nuts once. My ex and I were biking through the French countryside and picked up this huge pinecone which he deemed would be full of expensive nuts and save our poor asses some money. Lest you think this was any kind of romantic bullshit, I hacked away at that thing for 3 hours, got covered with this weird sticky black pine soot, and got about a tablespoon of actual pine nuts, which the pinecone gods have locked up in impenetrable rocks hidden deep inside the cones. He thought it was funny and took a picture of the whole thing. [See above-referenced status of ex.] I will pay an arm and a leg for pine nuts now. They just have to be not rancid (a place with high turnover) and not in the French countryside.

Chris TK Harrison said...

Of late I've taken to adding a small can of tomato paste to thicken a sauce.