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Posts Tagged ‘Tomato Sauce’

Red Onion, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pizza

We’ve been experimenting with our new Ooni Pro pizza oven. This is the very first pizza we made and it turned out pretty good. The recipe is by Gill Meller (of River Cottage fame) and we’ve since seen that he’s working with Ooni – a match made in heaven!

Wine Suggestion:  a joyful red, preferably Italian to match the mood. Tonight the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, but we’ve equally enjoyed wines from Abruzzo, Piedmont and Sicily to name a few with pizzas like these. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy or alcoholic though – light to medium bodied.

Gill’s Favourite Pizza – makes 3 large pizzas

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (good ones!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

FOR THE BASE:

  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 320ml lukewarm water

FOR THE TOPPING (PER PIZZA):

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 or 3 thyme springs, leaves picked

To make the sauce, heat a medium pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes,  half a tin of water and the bay leaf. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the base, put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Combine the yeast and water in a jug and whisk to dissolve. Pour this over the flour and allow the machine to run for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. You can also knead by hand but it will take a lot more effort and about 10 to 12 minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 3-4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9½ (or if you have a pizza oven you can get it going).

Heat a baking sheet or pizza stone inside the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back, then left it rest for a few minutes. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll each ball out thinly. Remove the hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven and lay on the pizza dough. Top the pizza as quickly as you can. Gill suggests tomato sauce followed by mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, blue cheese and thyme. Trickle some olive oil over the top and season well. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serve straight away and repeat with the remaining dough.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce

This is a great tomato sauce and of course can be made without meatballs and used in all sorts of things. We like to make the entire recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs in the sauce for tasty meals for kids or when we don’t have time to cook. They’re good served with linguine –  toss the pasta with the meatballs and sauce before serving with some grated Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: with the higher proportion of pork in the meatballs we think a medium bodied red works better than richer, fuller-bodied wines with this. We went with a Chateau Manoir du Gravoux from Castillon in Bordeaux. A Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend with a lovely freshness and pure, mineral character made a good match.

Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce – makes about 40 meatballs and 1.5 litres of sauce

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

FOR THE POLPETTE:

  • 1kg minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 medium eggs
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • cooked linguine pasta and grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat half the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a very low heat for an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano. Season with a little sugar if needed, then whizz using a hand-blender or food processor for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix together well with your hands, then roll into golf ball sized meatballs. They should weigh about 45g each. Place on a large greased baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and poach for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with linguine and grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Chicken with tomatoes, mozzarella & basilWe love easy ideas like this for adding extra interest to some chicken fillets mid-week. Serve with warm crusty bread and green salad.

Wine Suggestion: your choice of youthful, lighter Italian red; our choice tonight was the refined and under-rated Poggio ai Ginepri Bolgheri Rosso, but almost chose a Chianti. Both would be good.

Chicken breasts with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – serves 4

  • 4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish
  • 3 x 125 mozzarella balls, drained and sliced (don’t use buffalo mozzarella for this)

Slash each of the the chicken breasts four times with a sharp knife, cutting to the middle.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic and chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden all over.

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 12 minutes, turning the chicken breasts over halfway through.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Take the pan off the heat and put the mozzarella slices on top of the chicken breasts. Grind over some black pepper and put the pan under the grill for a minute or until the cheese starts to melt.

Pour some sauce onto each plate, top with a piece of chicken and garnish with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

 

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Creamy marscapone tortellini

Because we had leftover marscapone … we love using leftover ingredients. It’s ok to cheat sometimes with some shop-bought fresh tortellini and the result is dinner in minutes!

Wine Suggestion: this works with young, fresh red wines. If you feel like Italian then the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which is unoaked and vibrantly full of fruit is a good choice. We, however, threw a Pike & Joyce Rapide (unoaked) Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills into the fridge for 30 minutes. A good match too.

Tortellini with Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce – serves 2-4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (we never are without Marigold Swiss Bouillon) or ½ cumbled stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • few basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone plus a bit extra
  • fresh tortellni – we used spinach & ricotta

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and gently fry for 1 minute. Add the tin of tomatoes, the stock powder, tomato purée and sugar, then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Tear in the basil leaves and stir in the 2 tbsp of mascarpone.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini in boiling salted water as per the timing on the pack, then drain well and tip into a small ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the tortellini and top with a few more spoonfuls of mascarpone, then bake until bubbling at the edges.

(Original recipe by Gareth Morgans IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2008.)

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There is a rosemary bush in our front garden and it often comes to the rescue when we have pretty much nothing for dinner. Provided you have a rosemary bush at your disposal this is pretty much a store cupboard dish and also handy for using the end of a jar of cream. This is surprisingly tasty and a great throw together weeknight dish.

Wine Suggestion: this dish suits a rustic red wine with a bit of “garrigue”, the southern French earthy, herby, spice that is a bit wild and untamed. This time we opened a wine that has this in spades, the Mas Conscience “le Cas” which is 100% old vine Carignan, which is all black fruits hints of hot rocks and earth, and wild Languedoc spices. Not shy in character but a good match nonetheless.

Rigatoni with Tomato & Rosemary Sauce – serves 4

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped and stalks discarded
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g rigatoni or penne
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sugar

Fry the chopped rosemary in a tablespoon of olive oil for about a minute. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the chilli flakes, then simmer hard for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water according to the time indicated on the pack.

Stir the double cream into the sauce along with the sugar and plenty of seasoning, then mix in the drained pasta and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2011.)

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Sausage pasta

Jules has been cooking this dish for years. Far from fancy but really tasty and super quick. Also popular with kids but leave out the chilli if they’re not that way inclined.

Wine Suggestion: A robust Italian, more than likely a Sangiovese, is our wine for this type of dish. Today it was the Tenuta Sant’Alfonso Chianti.

Sausage Pasta – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 good quality pork sausages cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g short pasta

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil for the pasta.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the sausages until they are nicely browned. Turn down the heat and add the onion and garlic, then cook until softened.

Stir in the chilli powder and tomatoes, then bring to the boil before turning down the heat and leaving to bubble for about 10 minutes while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the pack instructions, then drain. Tip the cooked pasta into the frying pan with the saucy sausages and mix well.  Serve with crusty bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

 

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Chicken parmigiana

This is an absolute crowd pleaser and should please most children and other fussy eaters. It is easy but there are  a few steps so leave yourself plenty of time. We liked this way more than we expected to! Good with garlic bread and a big salad.

Wine Suggestion: you mustn’t overwhelm this dish with a heavy, powerful wine. It can have character though and the youthful Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo was a good match. Unoaked and fruit driven this is a lighter red and all freshness and vitality. Other alternatives that work are light Pinot Noir, Gamay or Barbera.

Chicken Parmigiana – serves 4 (generously)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chop 2 and peel the other
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 chicken breasts (ask your butcher to butterfly if possible)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch sugar (optional)
  • 2 balls mozzarella, sliced
  • handful fresh basil leaves

Start by making the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until soft and translucent, then add the chopped garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the red wine. Allow to bubble until the wine is reduced by about half, then add the oregano and tomatoes and season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce at this point and season with a pinch of sugar if necessary, then continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes, without the lid, until the sauce is well reduced – you want it to be fairly thick.

Preheat the oven to 200C Fan/180C/Gas 6.

Butterfly the chicken then put between two sheets of cling film and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Mix the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs, oregano and a few finely chopped basil leaves. Put half the flour onto a plate and season. Beat one of the eggs in a bowl and spread half the Parmesan mixture on another plate.

Dip each chicken breast in the flour and dust off any excess, then dip into the egg. Coat the eggy chicken in the breadcrumb & Parmesan mixture – pressing it firmly onto the chicken. Repeat this again with the next chicken breast. Now you may need to start the process again with the rest of the ingredients on fresh plates. Arrange the coated chicken on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.

To finish the dish you will need a large shallow oven dish that can take all 4 chicken breasts in a single layer. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub the dish all over with it. Spread the tomato sauce over the base of the dish, place the chicken on top and arrange the mozzarella over the chicken so it’s mostly covered. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and browned. Scatter some basil leaves over the top before serving.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Chicken & Egg by Si King & Dave Myers, Orion Publishing Co., 2017.)

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Kofte kebab

This Turkish kebab dish, from Claudia Roden’s wonderful book Arabesque, is very simple to make but you need to be organised and assemble the dish at the last minute so the layer of crunchy pitta bread at the bottom of the dish stays crisp. Claudia’s tips are to serve the tomato sauce and meat very hot but the yoghurt at room temperature.

Yogurtlu Köfte Kebabi or Turkish Kofte Kebab with Tomato Sauce & Yoghurt – serves 4

  • 2 pitta breads
  • 750g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac plus an extra pinch
  • 500g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp pine nuts

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 750g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (if it’s not tomato season use the equivalent of good quality tinned tomatoes instead)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar

Start with the tomato sauce. Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and chilli pepper, and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and sugar, and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they soften.

Open out the pitta breads, toast until crisp, then break into small pieces with your hands.

Next make the kofte kebabs. Season the mince with salt and pepper, and use your hands to work into a soft dough. Add the onion and parsley and work into the meat. Shape into sausages, about 2cm thick and 7cm long. Arrange on an oiled sheet of foil on a baking sheet and cook for about 8 minutes under a pre-heated grill, turning once, until well browned but still pink and moist on the inside. Or if you prefer (as we do) you can grill on a barbecue.

Spread the toasted pitta pieces over the bottom of your serving dish and sprinkle over a pinch of sumac. Pour the hot tomato sauce all over and top with a layer of yoghurt beaten with a fork.

Heat the butter or oil with the pine nuts and stir in the teaspoon of sumac. When the butter or oil sizzles, sprinkle all over the yoghurt, arrange the meat on top and serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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River Café tomato sauce

 

We have two tomato sauces in our repertoire that we rely on; both are delicious but have a slightly different character. This is the one we have adopted from the River Café in London which is quicker (though we wouldn’t describe it as quick exactly) and incorporates a rich onion base. We keep a stack of takeaway tubs full of tomato sauce in the freezer for whenever pizza, pasta, or any other tomato-flavoured dish calls. Top quality tinned tomatoes are essential and we find the Italian brands are best.

Sugo di Pomodoro a Fuoco Lento or Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce

  • 2 x 800g tins plum tomatoes, drained of their juices
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium red onions, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions. Reduce the heat and cook until very soft, at least 40 minutes. Add the garlic about 5 minutes before the end.

Add the tomatoes and stir to break up. Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly for at least 90 minutes, giving it a stir every now and again. The oil will eventually come to the surface and the sauce will be dark red and very thick with no remaining juice.

(Original recipe from The River Cafe Cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Ebury Press, 1995.)

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From the geniuses at River Café is this deeply delicious and flavoursome pasta which keeps on reprising itself on our menus. We love that the ingredients list is simple and short and yet the dish is packed full of flavour and style. Don’t shy away from the generous quantity of butter – it’s what gives the dish its richness.

We’ve given a separate recipe for the tomato sauce. You will have too much for this recipe but it’s good served as it is with some tagliatelle and freezes well.

Wine suggestion: earthy, medium bodied red wines work well with this and we returned to an old favourite, the very smooth Selvapiana Chianti Rufina which is pure elegance in a glass. Really fine and supple tannins make this sing with a freshness that adds depth to the food.

Penne, tomato and dried porcini – serves 4 

  • 320g penne
  • 40g dried porcini
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 5 tbsp tomato sauce (see below)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • extra virgin olive oil

Soak the porcini in 200ml boiling water for 10 minutes.

Drain the porcini, straining the liquid through muslin or a paper towel, reserving the water. Rinse the porcini and chop coarsely.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the porcini and fry until soft. Add a little of the porcini liquid and simmer until absorbed. Stir in the parsley. Add the tomato sauce and season.

Cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and stir into the pasta sauce.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the Parmesan

Tomato sauce – serves 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes

Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan and fry the garlic until soft but not coloured. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes or, until the sauce is very thick and the oil comes to the top.

(Original recipes from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Random House, 2006.)

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This is a doddle to whip up after work and it’s not a bad chilli for very little effort. Serve in warmed tortillas with some rocket and sour cream or in a baked potato.

Cheat’s Chilli – to serve 4

  • 500g minced beef
  • 350g jar of tomato and chilli sauce (we use our own tomato sauce which we always have a supply of in the freezer)
  • 400g tin of red kidney beans

Fry the mince in a non-stick pan until well browned. Pour in the sauce, then fill the empty jar about a third full of water and rinse out into the pan. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the meat and heat through for about 5 minutes or until the beans are hot and the sauce is thick.

 

 

 

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This comes from a cookbook (The Frankies Spuntino) that was a very thoughtful birthday present for Jules from my sister Claire: an authentic Italian hangout in New York. We’d never heard of it, so it was a great treat to be introduced to something new. The two Frankie’s have gone back to their roots to produce real home cooking like their mothers and grand-mothers made in Italy and this is a great read as well as a useful addition to our recipe inventory. A Spuntino is a snack or a place to eat them, so this is about flavour and comfort rather than cheffy complications – we like it!

Warning – you will need to start this recipe the day before; it is not something you’ll have time to whip up after work as it takes at least 4 hours for the big pot of sauce alone. It is well worth it and the leftover sauce is exceptionally useful for so many extra dishes, plus it is a darn sight better than those jars of tomato sauces with celebrities on the front that you buy at the shops. Julie made the sauce while I was at work on Saturday and then we made the meatballs together on Sunday.

Frankies Spuntino’s very useful tomato sauce – makes heaps!

  • 1 x US cup (237ml) good quality olive oil
  • 13 cloves garlic
  • 4 x 800g tins of Italian tomatoes (go to a good deli to get them – we got ours in Roy Fox’s)
  • Large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsps fine sea salt

Put oil and garlic into a large deep saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, giving the odd stir, until he garlic is deep golden with streaks of brown, and fragrant. If it starts to smell bitter or is colouring too quickly take if off the heat and turn the heat down.

While the garlic is on, pour the tomatoes into a bowl (you’ll need a big one) and crush them with your hands. Discard the stem end and any basil leaves in the can.

When the garlic is done, add the chilli flakes and cook them for 30 seconds or so, to infuse the spice into the oil. Throw in the tomatoes and salt and give it a good stir. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer. Leave it there for 4 hours – stirring now and again.

Check for salt at the end. You can now cook the sauce with meat (as below), leave it covered in the fridge for at least 4 days or freeze for a few months. If you are cooking the meatballs cook them in the entire quantity of sauce and then keep the leftover sauce for later – it gives it a great flavour – though remember you did this when your veggie friends come over!

Meatballs to serve 6 (if there is less than 6 people still make the whole batch as they keep in the fridge and can be frozen)

This recipe uses American cup measures so we’ve given you a rough equivalent – I don’t think you need to be too fussy for this recipe

  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 lbs minced beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (or about 60ml) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese plus about a cup (237ml) for serving
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • 1 1/2 tsps fine sea salt
  • 15 turns white pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dried breadcrumbs
  • Tomato sauce (see above)

Heat the oven to 160C/325F. Put the fresh bread in a bowl, cover with water, and let it soak for a minute or so. Pour off the water and wring out the bread, then crumble and tear it into pieces.

Combine the bread with all the remaining ingredients, except the tomato sauce, in the order listed. Add the dried breadcrumbs last to adjust for wetness: the mixture should be moist wet, not sloppy wet (our mixture was sloppy wet so we added more dried breadcrumbs).

Shape the meat mixture into biggish meatballs and space them evenly on a baking tray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs will be firm but still juicy and gently yielding when cooked through.

At this point you can cool the meatballs and leave them in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze them for later.

Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a saute pan large enough to take the meatballs easily.

Put the meatballs into the sauce and turn the heat up a little bit. Simmer for half an hour or so until they soak up a bit of sauce. They don’t get better the longer you leave them so don’t abandon them altogether.

Serve 3 meatballs per person in plenty of red sauce , and cover each portion with a load of grated Pecorino.

Save the leftover sauce and use it anytime tomato sauce is required eg pizza, pasta, lasagne, etc.

Yum yum!

Wine suggestion: something red and Italian is the obvious choice and will give you the right amount of acidity to balance the tomato sauce – nothing too fancy!

 

 

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