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Red Sauce

A quick pan red sauce is an easy weeknight fix for many a “MOM, what’s for dinner?” But for that extra something, that sauce that is just that bit deeper and more complex, nothing beats all-day simmered red sauce. It is as perfect for a Sunday dinner as a chicken roast. Tomato sauce is also a perfect example of how using fat, in this case olive oil and the fat from cheese rinds, adds not only flavor, but health benefits. Tomatoes are rich in a beneficial phytochemical called lycopenes, which give them their pink and red coloration. But lycopenes are fat soluble, meaning if you don’t consume them with fat of some kind you don’t get near the bioavailability compared to when you do. Cooking the tomatoes with the olive oil and Parmesan cheese rinds kicks that up a notch at the same time it deepens flavor!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ounce tomato paste
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 3-4 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered (if you can not get fresh tomatoes and want to make the sauce, I recommend 2 cans (35 oz. each) San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 1 sachet (recipe follows)
  • 1 quart stock
  • Several Parmesan cheese rinds
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Directions:
In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 4 minutes, until soft and translucent; you do not want to brown the onions. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add the wine and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the fresh tomatoes, sachet, stock (I prefer light chicken here, but use vegetable if making vegetarian), cheese rinds, salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Simmer for 2-3 hours or longer until the liquid has reduced by  about a third. Using an immersion blender, or in small batches in a food processor or blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Do a final seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve and garnish with fresh basil.

Sachet

Ingredients:

  • Several sprigs fresh oregano
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley (may use stems and reserve leaves for other uses)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. red pepper

Directions:

Place all components in cheesecloth. Wrap, bundle and tie off with kitchen twine.

naples meatball bucatini and sunday red sauce

Naples-style meatball with bucatini and Sunday red sauce

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