By: Julie Galeazzi
My Italian Grandfather's tomato harvest was always legendary! Her “self” created recipe became a beloved way for us to enjoy the "fruits" of his labor! By age 10 most of the grandkids could do the chopping which meant we all hung out with grandma in her office "the Kitchen"!
Here are two quick and easy tomato sauce recipes that you can easily make in your own home.
1- RAW TOMATO SAUCE FOR PASTA
Hint: As ingredients are few choose the best and most fresh you can find. Also, please realize that I created a recipe from watching my grandmother cook. Don't be afraid to adjust based on your own tastes.
4 Large ripe juicy tomatoes cored, peeled if desired and coarsely chopped (I rarely peel but peels don't bother me), 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced (fresh is best) or adjust to your level of love for this ingredient...can be smashed and left whole if you wish to remove later. 6 Large basil leaves slivered, 2/3 cups fruity extra virgin olive oil....flavor of the oil is important here as the sauce is not cooked Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste, 1 pound pasta cooked in a-large pot of salted water until al dente Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine chopped tomatoes and their juices with garlic, half the basil, salt, pepper....stir in the oil. Let mixture sit at room temperature 8-10 hours... actually you could go even longer without fear....stirring occasionally if you happen to be around. If not it still will be good. So start this before you leave the house for work in the morning and "dine" on "fast food" that same night. Cook pasta (noodles are better then tubes) according to package instructions to al dente...don't forget to salt the water....drain reserving 1/3 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and toss with reserved water. Don't forget to make a salad while the pasta is cooking!
Divide pasta among six shallow bowls or plates. Ladle raw tomato sauce over pasta (remove garlic if you kept it whole), sprinkle with reserved slivered basil and sprinkle on lots of fresh grated Parmesan. Yum!!!! A good crusty bread to sop up all the sauce is a must!
2 - ARRABIATA SAUCE
Note: the below recipe does have amounts. The below “recipe” and I use that term loosely, was the one attempt I took to measure ingredients while my grandmother cooked. Believe me there was a pervasive air of “arrabiata” when this experiment ended!
The word arrabbiata is Italian for "in an angry mood", which describes perfectly the spicy, zingy flavor of a good Roman Arrabiata Sauce. This is another of my Portuguese grandmother's quickly recipes! Near the end of her life she referred to Grandpa as “Mussolini”. It may be my imagination, during that period the sauce seemed to get even more angry!
1 tsp olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine or 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp white sugar, 1 tsp chopped fresh basil, 1 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper, 2 tsp tomato paste, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, or 2 branches of fresh Oregano1 (14 1/2 oz) cans peeled and diced tomatoes if fresh is not available, 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in saucepan or large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions till soft and golden. Stir in wine, sugar, basil, cayenne pepper, tomato paste, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, black pepper and tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes. Stir in parsley. Fish out Oregano Branches. Ladle over hot cooked pasta of your choice. Ideal on penne regatta cooked al dente.