Monday, October 18, 2010

Lick the Spoon - San Marzano Tomato Sauce

Lately I've been trying to make a concentrated effort to schedule things into my day aside from work; namely, cooking and having some sort of a social life. To that end, I've accomplished several things in the past week:
  • Attacking a Lamb Ragu recipe I've had in my recipe file for the past year or so
  • Driving up to Sacramento to visit a dear friend
  • Visiting the apple orchards on Apple Hill with said dear friend to try my first ever apple cider donut, oh so good!
  • Wine tasting for the first time in Amador, even the first rain of the season couldn't put a damper on this
  • San Marzano Tomato Sauce from scratch
I've been meaning to make San Marzano sauce for ages, and just never got around to it. Once I did, I finally understood why people say that these tomatoes make the best sauce. So, so good. It was such a comforting thing to have it simmering away on the stove all day while I worked, taking a break every so often to stir the bubbling sauce and inhale the savory fragrance. By the time I finished work I was practically crazy from the heavenly smell, I couldn't wait to dish it over fresh pasta...but I must admit, I snuck in a few spoonfuls before the pasta was ready. This sauce is so good, you'll literally be licking the spoon.

More on the apple excursion later, in the meantime, make. this. sauce.

San Marzano Tomato Sauce

12-15 San Marzano Tomatoes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and in the meantime, score an "X" in the bottom of each tomato and set aside a large bowl of ice water. When the water is boiling, slide each tomato into the water, blanch for about 30 seconds, and then remove the tomatoes and stick them into the ice water bath. Use your fingers to peel the skin right off. Set the peeled tomatoes aside.

Over med-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until caramelized. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, parsley, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper; stir to combine. Simmer on low for about an hour or more , stirring once in awhile, and tasting as you go for seasoning (you can simmer for several hours for a deeper flavor) Remove bay leaf. Taste for salt & pepper, and add more if desired. Serve over pasta, or jar to save.

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