Friday, March 03, 2006

Pasta and Penuche

Tonight for dinner I’ll be making a nice simple pasta sauce on penne, homemade challah and a little penuche for dessert.

The penuche I’ve already written about a few weeks ago. I must say here that making it today was a trip down memory lane. It tasted just as I remembered. Man is it gooooood. My only problem was that I waited a bit too long to pour it out into my pan, so it was solidifying as I tried to spread it out.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Ah well, live and learn.

Instead I’ll tell you about the sauce. My Uncle Hector* developed this and told my mother. It comprises of a 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (ideally San Marzano style-a lovely tomato that has a low acidity and is perfect for sauces), an onion, a stick of butter (I have found half a stick works just as well), a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter. Quarter the onion and add it to the butter with the tomatoes. Simmer for an hour. Mix the sauce with a wooden spoon.

My Uncle likes to remove the onion and passes the sauce through a sieve. He likes a very smooth sauce. My mother and I, on the other hand, like a more rustic sauce and we chop the onion and leave it in. Sometimes I’ll use my immersion blender if I want the sauce to be smoother.

The beauty of this sauce is that you add all sorts of things to it. A dash of white wine will “brighten” it and browned meat (hamburger, buffalo burger, sausage, or what have you) will give you a heartier sauce. I have served this on many occasions and I have always gotten rave reviews.
*He is not really my Uncle, but a close and dear friend of my parents. Hector’s parents came over from Italy when they were very young and settled in CT. I remember our family visiting his parents for holidays. Mamma L. was an amazing cook, possibly the best I’ve ever known. All of her food was from scratch (pasta too!) and was scrumptious. Easter was incredible with the table groaning under the weight of all the treats it held. Papa L. made his own wine and all of the babies for the family would have their feet dunked as a sort of baptism. The funniest part was the photos. My brother and I would be included in the family photos of the grandchildren. I would sort of fit in with my dark hair and eyes, but my fair skin would set me apart. My brother, meanwhile, stuck out like a bright beacon. He is a true blue eyed blond with the pale skin to match and he was always smack dab in the middle. As a result of my quasi-Italian upbringing I have a special fondness for all things Italian.

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