Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FOOD: saucy!

Seeing as my first food post received a 1000% spike in blog traffic, I suspect another dose might be in order.

So the recipie of the day?  Pasta sauce!

Due to food issues at home, I can not rely on canned soups, sauces, stocks, bouillon cubes or anything that has any of the following: onion powder, garlic powder, onions, garlic, "spices" and more. Thankfully, locally grown, organic garlic is ok.  But the supermarket stuff that is dirt cheap that comes from China causes ugly reactions that I do not care to share in a food post. Additionally, I can use leeks in place of onions and that doesn't cause anybody to have a GI disaster.

This sauce can be made with a panoply of ingredients, or just a few.  There are a few tricks which are critical which I will try to make perfectly clear.

To start I don't really know what to call it as I typically do not add enough meat to make it a proper Bolognese, but I suppose it would be easy to just add more and bob's your uncle.


3-4 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 strips of bacon cut into lardons.  (Optional... reduce oil if using bacon)
1-2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 small onion (or 1/2 of a leek)
2 small stalks of celery (finely chopped)
2 cans of Aurora chopped tomatoes.  (398ml size)
2 anchovy fillets or the equivalent amt of anchovy paste.  (optional but highly recommended)
150g of super finely graded Parmigiano Reggiano (or more... and LOTS more when plating)
15-25 coarsely chopped salty olives.  It need not matter if they are green or black
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 pinch rosemary
1 pinch tyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 cup of red wine (and a glass for you to drink while you cook)
1/2 cup whipping cream (35% mf)

NB: the cream is optional.  But you might want to use half the listed amount of anchovy if you do skip the cream.


In a large skillet, add the oil, bacon, onion (leek) anchovies and garlic.  medium ish heat until the onions soften.   Do not burn the garlic!  (It's easy to do)

Once the onions have sweat down a little, turn up the heat to medium.  As the garlic starts to brown add ONLY ONE can of the tomatoes.  There should be lots of steam and sizzling.  Stir well.  Add spices, salt, and pepper.  Stir well and cover.

COVER and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes or so until the mixture reduces to about 1/2.  The tomatoes will be starting to caramelize at this point and things might start to stick a little to your pot.  (That's ok... try not to let things stick, but the little bit of sticking tells you you're doing it right)

Add the red wine, stirr well for about a minute.

Add the sugar and the next can of tomatoes and reduce heat to a low-medium.  (Or is that medium low?)

Simmer for 5 minutes and add the parm reg.  Stir well while adding the cheese so nothing clumps.

Add cream and stir well.  Keep simmering and stirring for another 5-10 minutes.  (cook your pasta during this time)

Once your pasta is nearly done, your sauce should be just a little too thick.  (This is perfect).  Remove your pasta from your pot and dump it into the sauce with about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water.

Stir well until every noodle is gloriously covered in the sauce.  Then cover and simmer for an additional 2-5 minutes depending on the kind of noodle you have.  (Thicker noodles take longer).

Finishing the pasta in the sauce makes the noodles absorb some of the sauce.  It's awesome!

Plate with salt (to taste), freshly cracked black pepper, chili pepper flakes, and a generous pile or more reg parm.

And finally: EAT.

Notes:  The sauce can be put in the fridge for a day or three.  I've found that it tastes ALARMINGLY BETTER after being in the fridge for 12-24 hours.  So I'm considering making a huge pot and freezing portions.  (I haven't tried it yet... nor have I tried scaling up the recipe...  Will post later)


  1. Sauce sounds pretty tasty. What kind of salt do you normally use for cooking? Sea salt? rock salt? table salt? I find different salts have different tastes. Looks like your blog is starting to turn into a recipe site (^_^) Which I guess kind of reflects the name of your blog better anyway lol.

  2. Just some Mediterranean sea salt.

    As for my blog, I'm still "the starving artist"... I'll just try to alternate food posts among my angry rants about why people are idiots for stashing money in "savings" accounts, aggressively paying down their mortgages that are only 1% interest and losing the investing game by listening to "advisers" telling them to buy crappy mutual funds.

    My traffic is crazy huge when I food blog... I guess it has a larger appeal.