Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cookish: What's for Lenten dinner?

Continuing our theme, the next easy Lenten inspiration may be obvious: Tomato sauce! It is easy and cheap to make at home, and can really be delicious. Here are some ideas for what to do with it:
  • Easiest one: pasta and sauce. Jazz it up by using some different pasta shapes: spaghetti, rotini, penne, cavatappi, farfalle--anything you like! You can also jazz it up with some extra vefggies: sauteed mushrooms, peas, eggplant, or spinach (call it Florentine!). You can add some cream to make a rosa sauce or turn it into vodka cream sauce.
  • Pizza! Use refrigerated dough or make your own, and top it any way you like. You can also make individual bagel or English muffin pizzas.
  • You can poach eggs directly in tomato sauce and serve over toast (assuming no one in your family is allergic to eggs!)
  • Use it making rice (you need a little for the Mexican rice I posted the other day)
  • Eggplant Parmesan.
  • Lasagna!
  • Shrimp fra Diavolo--shrimp cooked in a spicy tomato sauce
Usually, I sauté some onion and garlic and add canned crushed tomatoes and/or whole canned tomatoes, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, a little sugar, and let it cook down, but I recently tried a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite blogs, as you know). Here's the original recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/

It could not be easier and is so delicious! No chopping! Here's what I did:
Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can (I used generic San Marzano-style tomatoes with basil from my local grocery)

5 tablespoons butter

1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes (do not drain), onion, garlic, red pepper, and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste.

Serve with pasta, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

*When cooking your pasta, PLEASE add more salt than you think you should. The pasta water should be salty like sea water--it is the only way to add flavor to the pasta itself and it does make a difference.

** if making this for pizza, add some oregano

***I simmered with the lid on and the sauce was pretty thin. Next time I will simmer with the lid off to let the sauce thicken.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

I am trying this. I am so tired of chopping onions!

Loving the series!