Thursday, September 26, 2013

Soup's On

Dear Marg,

It's soup time. Actually it's that interesting time of year when the weather demands you have chilled cucumber soup one day and steaming hot roasted tomato soup the next.

Cucumber soup with yogurt and dill

Cucumbers, yogurt and dill, S&P, whir it all up in the dangerous device of your choice.

Last winter when Justin came to stay he made his famous Oscar's tomato sauce for our Oscar party. I promise this isn't a tangent. The sauce involves cans and cans of tomatoes, sticks of butter and hours of simmering. It is delicious and definitely a member of the 1%. 

Recently, I found a container of tomato soup in the freezer. Oh joy, homemade tomato soup, I thought as I heated it up. I'll bet you can tell where this is going...

As I finished a large, delicious bowl of soup I tried to remember when I had made it, and what recipe I had used so I could make it again. I drew a blank. I drew another blank. I remembered the Oscar party.

Now that was some soup!

Justin's Tomato Sauce Soup

Here's Justin's recipe, in his own words:

Good day, Elise,

That sounds delicious! My secret isn't such a secret but sometimes I do vary and add to the simplest of Tomato Sauces.

Marcella Hazan wrote what I call Italy's Joy of Cooking, and I discovered the recipe in her cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (you probably have this book or know much more about her than I do ;-)

The title of the recipe is: Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

It is the butter that gives the sauce its richness and it's so worth it.

I make a whole huge pot of it and freeze the leftovers for future meals.

2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described on page 151 in cookbook, or 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
1 to 1&1/2 pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table

quoting the recipe here: This is an unsurpassed sauce for Potato Gnocchi, but it is also delicious with factory-made pasta in such shapes as spaghetti, penne, or gigatoni. Serve with grated parmesan.

Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

sacrilegious or not? Here's my added tinkering . . . sometimes I will add a teaspoon or more of sugar, or not, depending on the taste and the sweetness the onion adds. Some tomatoes are better than others too. I also take the onion out and then food process the sauce in batches for a smooth consistency, something I prefer, and it's not necessary. This sauce can be saved and used as a base for other pasta sauces you want to create. Saute onions, carrots, celery in olive oil (garlic too if you want), I also add a little bit of balsamic vinegar to the vegetables . . . add the saved sauce to this when vegetables are to your liking. cook crumbled Italian sausage or any meat, ground beef, then cook the vegetables you want in the pan drippings (having taken cooked meat out first) . . . when veggies are done, add back the meat and pour cooked sauce in that for a heartier meal . . . 

The simplest of sauce . . . it really does have rich, buttery-good, flavor.



1 comment:

JustinBog said...

Wonderful to see the photos, Elise . . . thanks for sharing my Oscar sauce . . . it's takes less time to make than it does to watch the telecast, for sure ;-)