|Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter|
A few short weeks ago I enjoyed the company of some talented local ladies whom I met last fall at Jennifer Cockrall- Kings' Food and Wine Writers Workshop in Penticton. We spent some down time at Judy's Camp Okanagan on the sundappled porch of Wine Country Cabin 35 sipping bubbly. There were amazing desserts from a local bakery and amuse bouche "a la Frizzle" made with honey from the Big Island, her second home in Hawaii, while we unwound from a delicious lunch at Mission Hill Winery and private tour of their kitchen and gardens from executive chef Matthew Batey. You can read all about our amazing sojourn at Roz's Site here. Dubbed by Judi "The Chicks Who Wine" our group will be out and about in the Okanagan valley enjoying all that it has to offer.
During our conversation I remembered hearing some very persuasive things about a tomato sauce with onion and butter by Marcella Hazan, the venerable Italian cookbook author whose sturdy, no-nonsense, nonna-like tone makes me confidant in the kitchen.
In its very simplicity lies the secret. It has 3 ingredients, and requires no preparation so lock your knives in the kitchen cupboards. Add garlic or basil, mozzarella or Parmesan, if you are so inclined, but try it in it's original virginal state first. A recipe is a guideline and gives you the courage to strike out on your own. The butter makes the sauce so DON'T switch to olive oil that is my only recommendation!!
This is a show-stopping, voluptuous sauce that had us all drooling at the mere mention of its name. The sauce bubbles away and the butter separates and creates pockets of flavour. The butter bolsters the sweetness of the tomatoes and balances their acidic edges, while the halved onion simmering slowly in the sauce, lends a subtle, savoury note. The onion is meant to be discarded but my adopted imaginary nonna cooking alongside me wouldn't allow it and true to my imaginary Italian roots no ingredient shall be wasted, so, I enjoyed it's buttery mouthwatering lusciousness alongside my spaghetti. Besides I love onions!!! Like the bubbling pot of well-balanced sauce the aromas coming from the kitchen teased and tantalized and I was not disappointed!
Thank you for joining me for the 6th installment as I travel along with Mary of One Perfect Bite on an incredible culinary journey. This event is in it's infancy and already I have learned so much from the masters with little secrets and techniques. Gourmet Live brought out a list of the 50 most influential women in food...Fifty women game changers. Some are chefs, some are food writers, and some are women who are passionate about the creative process. You could certainly add or detract women from this list, but no matter what these women have all influenced us in one way or another. Being a woman and passionate about food myself I wanted to explore and not only learn from the masters but recreate some of their dishes to better understand what has shaped and molded them into who they are today. In doing so I have learned more about myself as well. Follow us on this journey while we take an in depth exploration of these women's lives and what makes them who they are.
For 50 weeks we will experiment with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list" coaxing and prodding their recipes into shape in our kitchens. Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty it will be an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters. My cohorts for this adventure you will find below. If you would like to join in please contact Mary. This is an informal event and you have the flexibility to follow along when you can. She will be posting every Friday.
"There is that volume, the one streaked with pepperonata sauce, its pages mangled and steamed into perpetual ripples from everyday use until it's almost twice as thick as it was on the day you first opened it. Most cooks have a book like this, a faithful friend that has carried them through everything from dinner parties to seduction suppers to pasta meals whipped up for solitary delectation at the end of a long day. These books are our Virgils, our Obi-Wan Kenobis of the kitchen. They teach us, gradually, to trust ourselves with a skillet and maybe even a potato ricer. They've made cooks out of us, and we celebrate them here." - SalonAs you read this I am packing for a holiday. Going back to my own roots in Southern Ontario tomorrow forces me to look ahead and reflect on these creative women. I want to thank Mary for taking us on this journey which has opened my eyes to not only the importance of these women in our lives but to reflect on what we have learned from each by sheer osmosis. There will be a few scheduled posts over the next week and I'll be sure to relate my adventures when I return. Au revoir!!!!
What did I learn this time around: Add a good quantity of butter to your tomato pasta sauce for a mellow, well balanced flavour!!!! I have made it 3 times this month for it's simplicy and depth of flavour. That is high accolades my friends.
What are my friends up to:
Mary of One Perfect Bite - Cold Herb-Flavored Marinated Green Beans
Joanne of Eats Well With Others - Pasta with Zucchini, Basil and Parmesan Sauce
Claudia of A Seasonal Cook in Turkey - Panzanella
Susan of The Spice Garden -
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed - Cucumber, Radish and Orange Salad.
Heather of Girlichef - Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney -Roasted Chicken with Pancetta and Herbs
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - away this week
April of Abbys Sweets - away this week
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud - Ricotta Gnocchi with Simple Tomato Sauce
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me -Semifreddo di Cioccolato
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen - Clam Soup
Linda - There and Back Again - Cream and Butter Pasta
**Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter**recipe adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano, if you can find them), tomatoes roughly chopped with their juices
5 tablespoons salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
salt to taste
(optional add garlic, basil, and Parmesan cheese)
1. Heat a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add a pinch or two of salt. Turn the heat to low to keep a steady simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.
2. Discard the onion (or devour it on the side). Serve over cooked pasta.
I used salted butter and also heavily salt the boiling pasta water, so I didn’t add any additional salt to the sauce. Taste and adjust with more salt if needed to suit your tastes.
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