Banana-White Chocolate Bread Pudding

•November 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Rich Banana Flavor, But Not Overly Sweet. Delicious Holiday Desert

It’s holiday time in Arizona!  My friend and I were beginning the day with the intention of pulling out the Christmas lights and decorating the front yard.  We figured what better way to get into the spirit than with a delicious holiday desert as well!  What started out as a Banana White Chocolate and Hazelnut bread pudding with Maple Ice Cream, turned into a more Hawaiian themed Banana White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut bread pudding with Coconut Ice Cream.  Maybe a bit less Christmassy – but appropriate, since it was nearly 80 degrees out side.

The flavor combinations you can achieve with bread pudding are limitless – here’s just one fantastic option.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar + 4 or 5 Tbsp.
  • 4 Whole Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 4 Over Ripe Bananas (All covered with brown spots and soft)
  • 3 Unripe Banana (Greenish and firm)
  • 1 Bag or approximately 2 Cups of White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Package of Hawaiian Buns

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

  • 1 Cup chopped nuts (Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Etc…)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, etc… Whatever you think would be interesting)
  • You could substitute the white chocolate for dark chocolate – or do a combination of both chocolates – omitting other additions

INSTRUCTIONS

For the best results you want to think about this recipe a day or two ahead of time so that you can get the bread to be stale.  I didn’t so I ‘cheated”  Cube the bread into 1/2 cubes.  Lay it out on a sheet pan to dry out.  You can do this two days in advance.  If you want to achieve a similar result you can cube the bread and then put in the oven at 170 for about an hour and a half – stirring it around occasionally.  The object is to remove the moisture from it so that it soaks up the custard mix better.

In a large mixing bowl combine the bread cubes and chocolate chips.

Mix together the cream, 1 Cup of sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with a whisk.

Cut the over-ripe bananas up and put them in a microwave safe container.  Microwave them covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes.  Let cool.

In a blender, put the milk.  Add the microwaved bananas and all the liquid they released.  Blend until smooth.

Whisk together the custard mix and the banana mix.

Pour the banana custard mix over the bread cubes and chocolate chips.  Stir the mix around well and allow it to sit at room temp for 30 minutes to one hour.

Prepare a 13″ pyrex baking dish by rubbing it with butter.  Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. sugar on the bottom.  Slice the bananas and cover the bottom of the pan with them.  Sprinkle the top of them with remaining sugar.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Add in your chopped nuts to the bread / custard mix and pour over the sliced bananas in your pan.

For best results we put the baking dish on a sheet pan and added about 3/4 c. water to the sheet pan to create steam, keeping the custard from cracking while cooking. You can achieve great results without this step though – totally optional.

Bake for about one hour, until nice and golden brown all over, and the custard is firmly set up.

Remove and cool.

We prepared this and ate it within 30 minutes of taking it out of the oven.  The flavor was fantastic – but I strongly recommend allowing it to set up at room temp for at least 2 hours – even cooling and refrigerating it over night – then re-heating it in the oven to serve the next day.  Custard based deserts are 100% better when they’ve been allowed to firm up through the cooling process.

We served this with some home-made coconut ice cream – Recipe to follow.  I was tempted to make a burbon-coconut caramel sauce, but we opted not to, and I’m glad.  The flavors in this dish were perfect – balanced and not overly sweet!

COCONUT ICE CREAM

1 Cup Heavy Cream

1/2 Cup Milk

1 13.5 Ounce Can Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup COCO REAL Cream of Coconut Bar Mix

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Gently whisk together all ingredients to incorporate.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour. 

Chill in ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions.

Best Bologna Sandwich

•August 14, 2011 • 1 Comment

OMG this was Delicious!

This post has inspired me to add a new category to the menu – “Trailer Trash Gourmet”.  Don’t dismiss it – Bologna Sandwiches, Tuna Casserole, Frito Pie……………….they may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of creative eating, but let’s be honest, they taste good and all give you plenty of license to add your personal flare!

Sometime ago Rob and I were grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, and we must have passed some Wonder Bread or bologna or something that inspired us to trailer trash it up that day with some good old fashioned bologna sandwiches. 

Bologna sandwiches are an interesting subject, in so far as most people have a fairly strong opinion of what a perfect bologna sandwich is, at least, we both did.  My rendition was inherited from my Uncle Raymond – with the concept simple is best:  Two pieces of white Wonder Bread, some Mayo, and some Oscar Meyer Bologna.  Done.  That’s it. (Throw some Lays potato chips on the side).

Rob had a much more constructed version, and when he ran it down for me I cringed and thought, no way that’s much too busy to be a bologna sandwich.  But he did have one twist that caught my interest.  He put Fritos in it. 

So, when we got home we each made what we considered to be the best bologna sandwich – he ate mine and I ate his.  I defiantly got the better end of that swap!  I have no problem admitting defeat to the masterpiece of white trash comfort food he created. 

The pictured sandwich was our lunch today – and it was *expletive* delicious!

CONSTRUCTION OF SANDWICH

  • White Wonder Bread
  • Deli Counter Beef Bologna (Oscar Meyer will work – but the fresh-cut stuff is a bit better)
  • Mustard (Yellow is his preference, but I went with Guldens Brown)
  • Mayo / Miracle Whip if you prefer
  • Cheddar Cheese Slices
  • Fritos

Apply Mustard to one side of Bread, Mayo/ Miracle Whip to the other

Stack Bologna and Cheese on and close sandwich. 

Serve with Fritos

Before eating place Fritos in sandwich –  I put them on both pieces of bread – awesome!

Big crunchy, meaty, cheesey, wonder bready, flavorful, fantastic sandwich!  If I were a beer drinker I would have paired this with an ice cold Budweiser.

Crispy White Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

•August 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Better than Rice Crispy Treats....White Chocolate Peanut butter Rice Crispy Deliciousness!

I got this recipe from a friend of mine years ago, she calls it avalanche bark, I call them peanut butter treats, but for blogging purpose I renamed it something I thought was snazzier.   I still have the folded up purple piece of note paper she wrote it on, and I get it out of my little recipe box every time I make them.

I have tried a few times to improve upon this recipe – but after trial and error, I keep coming back to the way she wrote it down (with the exception of the peanut butter – she used chunky, I prefer creamy).  When I first made it I was a bit astonished by the volume of chocolate called for, so I added in more Rice Crispies.  More recently I scaled back the white chocolate to 22 ounces.  Neither option yielded a finished product that I was happy with. 

These bite sized pieces of deliciousness delight everyone who likes peanut butter, white chocolate or rice crispy treats – they are absolutely fantastic, and simple to make.

For the most part you can use whatever brands you like of the ingredients (I buy the generic crisp rice cereal because it’s indistinguishable from the brand name that costs four times as much).  The one thing I have a fairly strong opinion about is the white chocolate.  I have used and like Nestle White Chocolate chips – they melt easy without having to be chopped, and have good flavor.  A couple of batches ago I thought I’d get fancy and bought Ghirardelli white chocolate chips.  Being from the Bay Area I felt a native obligation to consider them a superior product – but I was sadly mistaken.  I cannot put my finger on what was wrong with the taste, but it was not even close to what I expect a quality white chocolate to be.  This last time I picked up two 1 pound chunks of Guittard White Chocolate and chopped it up.  By far, this was the best quality white chocolate.  I highly recommend going with that option if available.

INGREDIENTS

Yield 75

  • 2 Pounds White Chocolate (chopped or chips)
  • 1 ½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I use Jiff)
  • 3 Cups Rice Crispies
  • 2 Cups roasted salted peanuts
  • 2 Cups Mini Marshmallows

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine Rice Crispies, Peanuts and Marshmallows – set aside.
  • Melt white chocolate.  Mix in Peanut butter.
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the peanut butter mix.  Stir to mix.
  • Drop spoonfuls on wax paper lined sheet pans.
  • Store in fridge or freezer

Jalapeno-Bacon Sweet Corn

•August 7, 2011 • 1 Comment

With Three Really Stand Out Flavors : Sweet Corn, Smokey Bacon, and Jalapeno Zing, the Cream in This 'Creamed Corn' Dish Is So Light I Hate To Call It 'Creamed Corn' At All

With so many ways to highlight the delicious summer fresh sweetness of corn on the cob, it’s almost a sin to take the kernels off the cob and mix them up with such flavor forward ingredients as bacon and jalapeno….but not so much of a sin as to stop me from doing so, because the finished product is divine!

This is of course, best prepared in the July – August time frame, when the corn is naturally sweetest and most delicious, however, I have been known to bring this along as a Thanksgiving side dish as well.

As with most of my standard side dishes, this one is easy and quick to prepare, with only a few simple components.  It pairs well with so many dinner options – as pictured below, we’ve enjoyed it with pan seared salmon and salad, and with a citrus marinated pork chop.  This is also a lovely accompaniment to a grilled steak.

So, without further adeiue, here’s a super easy way to prepare a delicious corn side dish

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Ears Fresh Corn
  • 2 Strips Bacon
  • 1 Small Jalapeno
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

 INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Shuck the corn and remove the kernels from the cob (see photo for tips)
  2. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces
  3. Dice the Jalapeno
  4. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy
  5. Carefully drain out about 1/2 the rendered bacon fat – then add the butter to the pan with the bacon
  6. Add jalapeño to the pan and toss to coat in butter – sauté for a minute until fragrant
  7. Add the corn to the pan and toss to coat – sauté for a couple of minutes
  8. When the corn is still crisp, but the raw flavor is gone, add the cream and reduce until thick, (a minute or two)
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper

I tried out a vegetarian version of this lightly creamed corn, and have the concept perfected, just not the execution.  I will post that rendition when I’m satisfied I have all the bugs worked out.  For now, enjoy!

Buttermilk Battered Southern Fried Chicken

•August 5, 2011 • 4 Comments

An Ode to Buttermilk : Buttermilk Fried Chicken Thigh and side Salad with Home Made Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Despite countless spin classes and total abstinence from whiskey and wine for the past month, I still find myself irritable because my waistline hasn’t budged a bit.  Typically when I put my mind to it, I can take a few extra pounds off really easy – not this time.  It has occurred to me that this food blog may be to blame – since I have been having so much fun playing with my food lately, I’m probably consuming a lot more calories than normal. 

So for tonight’s dinner I’ve been going back and forth in my head between a healthy herb roasted chicken dinner, or the meal I really have been wanting to experiment with – Buttermilk Marinated Southern Fried Chicken.  Obviously, the devil on my shoulder won this battle.

I have been wanting to play with this recipe, because I’ve had a lot of luck pan frying chicken tenders coated with Panko or other bread crumbs, but it’s always eluded me how to achieve that crispy crumbly coating reminiscent of KFC.  So I’ve looked to several resources and put the following recipe together.

The meal itself is somewhat of an ode to buttermilk – since I bought a quart of it just for this recipe, and I refuse to waste food.  (Along with the buttermilk chicken and buttermilk ranch dressing, I also prepared a buttermilk lemon sherbet for desert – recipe to follow shortly).

INGREDIENTS

Dinner for Two

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 3 Cups Canola or Vegetable Oil

For the marinade

  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Dry Chives
  • ½ tsp. Dry Parsley
  • ½ tsp. Onion Powder
  • Dash of Cayenne
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 10 dashes Tabasco

Combine all dry ingredients and peeled garlic cloves.  Mash the garlic cloves around to release their flavor.  Add the buttermilk and Tabasco.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.  Place in a dish and pour marinade over to coat.  Prepare 6 – 24 hours in advance and refrigerate.

For the Coating

  • 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp. Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp. Chives
  • Dash of Cayenne

Mix together all ingredients in a pie pan or similarly sized dish

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare the chicken marinade and refrigerate chicken

Prepare the flour mixture and set aside until cook time

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 and set up a roasting pan with a rack inside of it
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy sauce pan with tall sides (I allowed for 3 cups of oil, but what is more important is the depth of the oil – you’ll want about an inch or an inch and a half
  3. While the oil heats prepare the chicken
    1. Move one piece of chicken from the buttermilk to the flour, coat on both sides
    2. Transfer the chicken back to the buttermilk pan
    3. Repeat with all chicken
    4. Coat the chicken on both sides with the buttermilk and move it back to the flour and coat on both sides
    5. Gently place the chicken skin side down in the hot oil (oil should be at 375)
    6. Fry the chicken for about 4 or 5 minutes with the skin side down
    7. Gently turn the pieces over and fry for 3 – 4 minutes on the other side
    8. You will want to achieve a golden brown color and crispy coating in the frying oil, so if you feel the skin side of the chicken is not dark enough, you can give it one more turn and cook for a minute or two
    9. When your chicken is evenly colored transfer it to the waiting pan with rack and place in the oven and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 – 165

Chicken will be incredibly hot, so you may want to rest it for 5 minutes before serving

TANGY BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING

  • 2/3 C Buttermilk
  • 1/3 C Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1/8  tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Coleman’s Mustard Powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dry chives
  • ¼ tsp. dry parsley
  • ¼ tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8  tsp. dry dill

Homemade Croutons

  • 4 slices frozen bread
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch Dry Oregano
  • Pinch Dry Thyme
  • Pinch Dry Basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Toss bread in oil and herbs – bake at 375 for 10 – 12 minutes – stirring once to prevent burning

Salad Niçoise (More or Less)

•August 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Light and Flavorful Great Summer Dinner Salad

The reason the title of this entry is Salad Niçoise (More or Less) is because even though I’m pretty easy-going and not rules regulated when it comes to cooking, the classically trained side of me does get a little irritated when people take liberties with certain iconic dishes like this one.  There are millions of variations on the traditional Salad Niçoise, and most of them stray from tradition altogether. I’ve committed the sin of omitting the Niçoise olives with which the salad shares its name (the name itself comes from the Nice Region of France), however the most common and cardinal of sins you see these days is when people replace the canned tuna with seared Ahi.  While this is a delicious deviation, and one that I endorse if you like to do so, it does negate the classic element of the salad – as oil poached tuna is the central point of a true Salad Niçoise.

Niçoise Salads should include Niçoise olives, anchovies, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and hardboiled egg all served over tender lettuce, like a butter lettuce or bib lettuce, dressed with a light yet flavorful vinaigrette.

The salad pictured omits the olives for two reasons: my other half is not a fan of olives, and for that reason, I did not bother to go on the hunt for them, because I recall the last time I tried to locate Niçoise olives I went to 4 different stores and found every olive but those.  I’ve added red onions to this salad, and used mixed greens rather than bib lettuce. I also hid the anchovies in the vinaigrette because neither of us are fans of salted anchovy filets, but I very much appreciate them as a flavoring component in dressings.  I used red potatoes that I cut into wedges for presentation purposes, but fingerling potatoes would look very nice here.

I love these types of composed salads, because they give you the opportunity to create a really impressive presentation.  As pictured I broke the salads up into single portions, but I will often do a large one on a platter that serves more than one just for the wow factor. 

Probably the most valuable part of this recipe is the vinaigrette – it came out really well – and as long as you have the basic idea of what a salad Niçoise is, you can prepare it with whatever combination of ingredients you like.

The herbs I used in this dressing I chose based on what I had growing in my herb pots, and what I had in my pantry.  You can substitute dry herbs for fresh and vice versa, and definitely tailor the herb mix to suite what you have available and what you prefer. For example you can substitute tarragon for basil, marjoram for oregano, or add parsley if you have it.  Fresh chives are a classic in this recipe.

Conversion for fresh to dry herbs is as follows:

1 Tbsp fresh chopped herbs = 1 tsp. dry herbs

I finally got fed up with paying $2.50 for a small handful of fresh herbs from the market every time I needed them, so I bought some herb plants for about the same cost as one package, and planted them in flower pots on the patio. Much more convenient, fresh and affordable!

 

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD

(Serves 2)

  • 2 Cans of Tuna – (Oil cured is the most tender, but I used water packed because I tossed it with dressing)
  • 2 Eggs – Hardboiled
  • Handful of Green beans – blanched and chilled
  • 1 Medium Red skin potato Cut, boiled and chilled
  • Handful of Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • Handful Olives – Preferably Niçoise
  • Red Onion – Sliced or diced
  • Mixed Greens

VINIAGRETTE

Yield – about 1 Cup (Serves way more than 2)

  • 1 Clove garlic – minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano – chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme – Chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dry Basil
  • 1 tsp. Colemans Mustard Powder
  • 2 Small Anchovy filets – minced
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • ¼ C. Red Wine Vinegar
  • ¾ C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine the herbs, garlic, mustard, anchovies, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, then add the lemon juice and vinegar.  Using a small whisk or fork vigorously stir the mix while slowly streaming in the oil.  (This is not an emulsified dressing but you do want to blend everything well.)  Taste and adjust for salt and acid as needed by adding a pinch of salt or a dash of vinegar.   Cover and refrigerate – best if made a few hours in advance.  This will make enough dressing so that you have left-overs for a salad or two later in the week.  I didn’t scale this down because making a smaller portion of it is a little awkward.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the vinaigrette and chill
  2. Steam the green beans until tender – then transfer them directly to a bowl of ice water to ‘shock’ them.  Shocking is a technique used primarily for vegetables that ‘shocks’ them by moving them directly to ice water after they have been blanched.  This process immediately stops the food from cooking and preserves the flavor, color and texture. Remove the beans from the water and set aside
  3. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender but firm.  Drain and lay on a plate to cool.  While cooling drizzle some of the vinaigrette over them so that the flavors absorb into them
  4. Hard-boil the eggs.  (See image for tips on the perfect hardboiled egg)

All of the above can be done ahead of time, or just in time

 

  1. To compose the salad – drain the tuna and toss it with your mixed greens and some vinaigrette
  2. Place the other components of your salad around the lettuce and tuna
  3. Drizzle a little extra dressing over everything and top with fresh cracked pepper and a dash of salt
 

 

Pasta with Classic Italian Meat Sauce

•July 29, 2011 • 1 Comment

True Comfort Food Not Only Tastes Great, It Also Makes the Whole House Smell Wonderful As It Cooks!

Low Carb and Vegetarian Diets be Damned! Who doesn’t love pasta and  meat?   This recipe is a win-win on both accounts.   Known by other names – Pasta Bolognaise, Pasta Salsiccia, etc…I chose probably the most lack luster but descriptive title I could muster up for this recipe:  Meat Sauce.

I’m somewhat awe-struck that it’s taken me 9 or 10 blog entries to get to a pasta dish – since it’s such a staple of Italian cooking – which is the basis for most of my cooking.  But then I quickly remembered that I spent a few years gluten-free starting in ’08, and pretty much had to give pasta up.  In the past year I have tried to use gluten-free substitutions when they are available, but since I am not a true celiac (just may a little intolerant) – I’ve come back to the dark side of glorious wheat based baked goods, breads and pastas.  We have experimented with several varieties of gluten-free pastas though, finding many to be acceptable when served hot – but they don’t make for good leftovers.  I know I’m in the minority here – but cold left over pasta, lasagna or ravioli are one of my favorites!  No reheating necessary!

The following recipe will yield a lot more sauce than you’re likely to need unless you are cooking for a large dinner party, or like me, just love left-overs – but not to worry, you can easily scale the portions down, or prepare the whole recipe and enjoy the left-overs for a couple of days, or freeze the excess sauce for a delicious bonus meal at a later date.

You’ll need to allow an hour or two from start to finish, as this is one of those sauces that develops flavors through slower cooking, but it is well worth it!

The uses for this sauce are numerous – besides the obvious of tossing it with some pasta for a casual meal, you can also serve it over polenta, or use it as a base for lasagna.  We used it once on a ridiculous enormous meat ball (the meat ball death star) that we prepared just for fun based on the inspiration of some guys that made a YouTube video.

I’ve recorded the recipe as I prepared it, but have also provided some optional additions that will yield a slightly different sauce, so you can use the same base to achieve a few different outcomes.

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1# Ground Beef (85/15 will yield a moist but not greasy sauce)
  • ½ # Italian sausage (hot or mild – your preference)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion – diced
  • 1 Medium Carrot – peeled and diced
  • 1 Celery – diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • ¾  Cup red wine
  • 1 – 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce (I prefer Hunts)
  • 1 –  15 oz  Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Dry Basil
  • 1 tsp. Dry Oregano
  • ½ tsp. Dry Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper
    • Optional – ½ tsp. dry chili flakes – depends if you like the heat and if you used hot or sweet Italian sausage
    • Optional – 3 Tbsp. heavy cream to finish
    • Optional – splash of balsamic vinegar if the sauce is too sweet and needs to be cut with acid

Parmesan cheese to garnish the tossed pasta

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.  (This trinity is known as mirepoix and is the base for countless soups, sauces and stocks.) You can prepare this in the food processor by rough chopping the veggies and then pulsing until you get a fine chop
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large sauce pan over a medium heat.  Add the mirepoix and sweat until translucent and fragrant
  3. Add the chopped garlic to the pan and stir to mix.  As always, be careful not to brown your garlic – burnt garlic has a bitter taste that you cannot remove from your dish once it is there
  4. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pan.  If you are using link sausage like I did, squeeze the raw sausage out of the casing into the pan.  Using your wooden spoon or spatula separate the meat into small chunks as it browns.
  5. You’ll want to cook it for about 7 – 10 minutes until you achieve and nice browned color on all of the meat.
  6. Check your pan to see if there is an excess amount of grease.  Drain a little if needed – but not all – you’ll want some in the sauce.  (If you used a fatty beef you may need to deal with this, however I did not remove any grease from the mix I used)
  7. Add in the wine and simmer for a few minutes until it has cooked down 50 – 75% to remove the raw wine taste
  8. Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomato and tomato paste
  9. Add in your dried herbs, salt and pepper (be sparing with the salt since it will concentrate as the sauce reduces.  You can add more salt at the end if needed
    1. If you like your food spicy or if you choose sweet / mild Italian sausage you may want to add in ½ tsp or so of dry red chili flakes as well

10. Once the sauce comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium – low and simmer the sauce for 15 – 30 minutes.  The longer it cooks, the more the flavors come together

  1. To achieve a slightly richer sauce you can finish it off with a few tablespoons of heavy cream.  The cream imparts a smoother mouth-feel and brightens the reddish color of the tomatoes 
  2. Sometimes I will add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar if I feel the sauce is on the sweet side (the canned tomato products you chose may have more or less sugar added to them than others).  The balsamic adds a nice complexity as well – as long as it is not detectable as vinegar.  Its presence should be a bit of a curiosity to the diner rather than identifiable

11. After 10 minutes you can prepare your pasta water:  Bring to a boil water with a couple teaspoons of salt in the largest pot you can find (boiling pasta in a crowded pot yields a sticky starchy product.)  Once the water comes to a boil drop your pasta in and stir it regularly – (read cooking instructions on package as the times can vary greatly)

This recipe will yield enough sauce for 8 – 10 generous servings.  If you are not planning to dish up that volume when you prepare it – remove the extra sauce, cool and refrigerate or freeze for later. 

Once the pasta is ready and drained toss it with the prepared sauce, dish it up, and top with grated parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper.  Yums!

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.