Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday night dinner: pasta with sauce from fresh tomatoes & meatballs and sausage

I got very little done at the Tiny Bungalow this weekend. It rained and rained and rained and luckily, didn't flood. I did go on an awesome Green Home Tour put on by Seven Generations Ahead where I finally got to meet Jennifer and Jason from Humphrey House. Their place looks great and all of the homes on the tour featured some good green renovation and living tips.
Sunday was spent cooking. Once a year I make sauce from fresh tomatoes and I figured that since the weather was so bad, this was as good a day as any for this year's batch. The tomatoes and onion came from the OP Farmer's Market and the basil and garlic from our garden.
It's a long process: peeling tomatoes, removing seeds, and then cooking it all down.

I simmer it a bit and then start the actual sauce.
I started off with a little olive oil and some beef ribs. I browned the ribs, added some bay leaf and then removed the ribs to leave a bunch of brown bits on the bottom of the pan. You can pretty much use anything for this: ground beef, beef shanks - I saw a woman on the Food Channel even used a lamb shank - awesome but a little heavy.
Remove the ribs.This is pretty much the best part of the entire cooking process. Add onions and garlic. There is an alchemy that occurs when onions, garlic, or shallots hit hot beef fat and brown bits. I am sure someone has written a dissertation on what occurs when you do this it but it's pretty much heaven. I am not sure that it makes the sauce any better but it makes the house smell awesome. After this stuff is translucent and the brown bits are all off the bottom of the pan, add the simmered tomatoes and then throw the ribs back in. Let this cook down to your desired thickness. Once that is done, you can add pretty much anything you feel like to complete the sauce. I usually add a can of tomato paste, some red wine, parm cheese, and a generous portion of fresh herbs (parsley and basil). Tonight I added browned sausage and meatballs and let it all cook down for another half-hour. I grew up with an extended family where no less than 20 of us were at the dinner table each Sunday night at my grandmother's, enjoying meals like this. She never made her sauce like this, using canned tomatoes and dried spices instead. I usually cook that way during the rest of the year. I think she also had a philosophy that spirals had some sort of medical benefit as they were usually the pasta of choice for her. She also had the thought that you could always cook more spirals so there was enough food for everyone, whether 20, 30, or 40 happened to show up on any given Sunday.Yes, my photography sucks. I served this over rigatoni last night and have enough sauce to freeze and to eat for the rest of the week.


Anonymous said...

Looks delicious !! I am going to try making it with the beef ribs. Thanks for the idea. Maybe you should save some sauce for us for Thanksgiving and we will get the kids pizza !! I do want to try that pizza from Freddie's

Love, Crazy Nana

Anonymous said...

yummy. i bet it was delicious. it looks delicious. tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

You should know that I have the DVR set to record all of Lidia's shows.