Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Twenty-five tomato plants–I got carried away and planted a few too many this gardening season. Thus far, I’ve harvested close to 100 pounds! Yep, I’ve been busy in the kitchen cooking and canning tomatoes for the past few weeks: whole tomatoes, roasted pepper & garlic tomato sauce, garden fresh sauce, roasted tomato & basil soup, tomato & zucchini soup, and roasted tomato & chile salsa. My pantry is busting at the seams with mason jars filled with goodies.

I think maybe next season I’ll scale back. Just a wee bit, don’t ya think?

And I still have a couple plants left from which to harvest. Not done yet! I did pull most of them so I could begin preparing the soil for a fall planting. It broke my heart to pull up plants that still wanted to produce, but now that I’m back to teaching, my time is limited. Sigh…

Last summer, I discovered the Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) and fell head over heals in love with it. I could hardly wait for this season’s tomatoes to ripen to make it again.

This recipe from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook also uses fresh garden tomatoes but has a  few more ingredients that add some flavor layers to the sauce. Both are scrumptious and I like them equally well.

What I love about this particular recipe is that the skins aren’t peeled from the tomatoes. That saves a bit of time, for sure. Although the ATK recipe cooks up quickly, blanching and peeling the tomatoes for it takes some time, so both recipes rank equally in terms of prep and cook time, in my opinion. The Hazan recipe uses more kitchenware, so cleanup takes longer, but the flavor more than makes up for that.

Try them both. Let me know what you think. Definitely use fresh tomatoes, though–either homegrown or from the farmer’s market for best flavor…or picked from a farm if you have a u-pick tomato farm close to your home.

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I used 2 tbsp. instead)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Cook in a covered non-reactive stockpot over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add celery, carrots, onions, salt, and sugar.
  4. Cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly, then purée in a blender or food mill.
  6. Return to pot, add olive oil, and cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  7. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Note: Sauce can be frozen in canning jars or plastic freezer bags for several months.

SOURCE: Playin with My Food

Pulled Pork & Tangy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Nutzie’s Pulled Pork with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

So who is Nutzie? He is a grandpa in Worcester, Massachusetts who owns a mom-and-pop restaurant.

How did I find his recipe? Why, in the Wall Street Journal, of all places!

The Wall Street Journal has recipes? Yep. Hey, I didn’t know either.

I thought it was strictly a business newspaper. Nope. It’s chock full of a myriad of articles.

However, the recipes show up in the weekend edition only, which my dear hubby pointed out to me when he recently began subscribing to the newspaper. So I now abscond it every Saturday morning and peruse it for recipes.

Recently, the pulled pork recipe, along with a homemade barbecue sauce, piqued my interest. I love pulled pork sandwiches, especially from The Beach Pit BBQ in Costa Mesa, California. I loved the idea of making my own, and this recipe sounded easy enough. No dealing with the outdoor barbecue or smoking it or special wood chips. Just cook it in the oven with salt, pepper, broth and liquid smoke. Slather it in barbecue sauce, slap it between some buns, and you are good to go!

By the way, ever heard of liquid smoke? It’s some seriously amazing stuff. How in the world do they get that hickory-smoked flavor in a bottle?!

The barbecue sauce was super easy to make, and I adore the idea of no preservatives…except the recipe calls for store-bought ketchup, so it does have some preservatives. I do have a recipe in my files for homemade ketchup but haven’t tried it yet. Soon.

Tasting the sauce as it simmered, it imparted too much of a tangy taste, I decided. Hubby agreed. So I added 6 tbsp. more of brown sugar, and the tang was still strong. However, the tang was less dominant, so I let it be. I wanted to add liquid smoke so it would taste more like the  store-bought barbecue sauce we are used to, but since the pulled pork recipe uses liquid smoke, I refrained. I figured I could add it later if needed. If I were using this for something else, I would seriously consider adding a few drops of the liquid smoke. And next time I’ll reduce the amount of vinegar.

The recipe also calls for vinegar added to the pork after it’s shredded, but I barely sprinkled any on because the barbecue sauce was already heavy on the vinegar.

This makes a HUGE batch. As a matter of fact, the article reads “MEGA MEAL” above the title. I might reduce it next time. Or maybe I can freeze it? I’ll try that and see how it works out. It should be fine since I often freeze leftover chicken and beef and make tacos with it. So far, we’ve had about 3 meals each out of this and still have tons left. Definite party food–great for a summer gathering.

This was one of a dozen or so goodies I cooked up this Memorial Day weekend. Hubby and I chilled out at home, but I made us all kinds of holiday fare to usher in summer. Woo hoo…only two more weeks of teaching and grading essays, then I’m done for some summer fun. Countin’ down…

In the days to come, I’ll be sharing all of the goodies I cooked up to go a long with the pulled pork extravaganza.

By the way, if you would rather use a crock pot to make pulled pork in the sultry days of summer, here’s a link to a recipe I have saved but haven’t tried yet: pulled pork.

Nutzie’s Pulled Pork

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (5-6 pound) bone-in pork butt (that means the upper shoulder cut…by the way, I used pork without bone)
  • 1 – 1 1/ 2 tsp. kosher or coarse salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. liquid smoke (you can find this at a grocery store)
  • 4 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar, or more to taste (I actually used a lot less–just a sprinkling)
  • sliced soft rolls, soft or toasted, for serving
  • coleslaw and pickles, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place pork butt in a large pot with a lid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Pour broth around pork until it covers about one quarter of the meat.
  4. Add liquid smoke. Cover pot and put in oven. Bake until internal temperature registers 190-200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and meat is falling apart, 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours. Use a fork to pull at pork and make sure it comes apart easily.
  5. Remove pork butt from oven and let it sit in pot 15-20 minutes.
  6. Remove from pot; discard bone and cooking liquid. Cut fatty parts off meat, then use two forks or your fingers to shred meat into small pieces. Place shredded pork in a large bowl.
  7. Warm barbecue sauce in a small pot over medium heat. Mix shredded meat with barbecue sauce and vinegar until evenly coated. Taste. If pork could use a bit more zing, add more vinegar. Season with additional salt and pepper.
  8. Pile pulled pork onto rolls or serve it plain with coleslaw and pickles.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, May 12-13, 2012

Tangy Homemade Barbecue Sauce

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups ketchup, preferably Heinz (use 1 cup of Heinz chili sauce if you want a zestier sauce)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (use less if you don’t want the flavor to dominate)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar (I used an additional 6 tbsp.)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • Kosher salt or coarse salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, stir well, and let simmer over medium-low heat until flavors meld, about 15 minutes.
  3. Sauce is ready if you prefer it a bit chunky from the chopped onions. If you prefer it smoother, allow it to cool, then puree it in a food processor.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, May 12-13, 2012

Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

Garden tomatoes. Pungent garlic. Fresh basil. Sprinkle of salt. Touch of pepper. And olive oil.

That’s it. Those are the ingredients. No more.

Insanely tasty tomato sauce.

Garden fresh. Bright. Naturally sweet.

Tastes like summer days.

It’s not too bitter, not  too sweet, not too onion-y, not too peppery, not too many veggies.

It’s just right. It’s perfect.

Who would have thought that such simplicity would reign so supreme?

So satisfying.

So tantalizing.

This is the recipe I’ve searched high and low for. I’ve tried tons of store-bought tomato sauces as well as have made tons of my own from both canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. This one ranks as the best I’ve discovered thus far. Even better: it is the easiest!

Using the last harvest of our summer tomatoes, I quickly whipped this up…well, minus the blanching and peeling stages, but even that doesn’t take long with only two pounds of tomatoes.

Try it. I beg you. It’s worth the minimal effort.

And if you don’t have garden tomatoes, please oh please oh please, don’t buy the bland, tasteless grocery store imitations of tomatoes. Go to a local farmer’s market and buy the real thing. Trust me, it will make all the difference.

Garden Fresh Tomato  Sauce

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 4 large), cored, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. To prepare tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with some ice and water. Then, cut out the cores of the tomatoes, followed by slicing an X into the bottom of each. Immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, until the skins begin to loosen. Remove tomatoes and place in the cold water until cool enough to handle. Now you can easily peel off the skin. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks and set aside until ready to place in skillet. (Check out Food in Jars for photos & directions for blanching/peeling tomatoes)
  2. Stir olive oil and garlic together in a large skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Starting the oil and garlic in the pan at the same time prevents the garlic from burning.)
  3. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat if sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan, until thickened and chunky, 15-20 minutes. (I used a potato masher to smush my tomatoes a bit. Totally optional.)
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If your tomatoes aren’t as sweet as you’d like, add a pinch of sugar to the sauce.

Yield: 2 cups–enough for 1 lb. of pasta

Notes:

Sauce can be frozen. Cool it completely, first. Transfer to a 2-cup freezer-safe container. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the microwave or in the refrigerator overnight.

If you double the recipe, increase the cooking time to about 30 minutes.

SOURCE: cookscountry.com