I’ve been craving red sauce. It’s a weird thing to crave, but I just for some reason wanted a solid meal built around a savory tomato sauce. The pasta was not so important, it was all about the gravy. Maybe it’s the re-runs of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, or the fact that Julia Roberts eats what looks like some of the most amazing Italian food in Eat Pray Love which I saw last week. Either way, it had to happen.
So it did. This weekend I made a batch of sauce and then 2 subsequent dinners. Saturday, appropriately enough, after dinner, my friend E & I walked down to the North End for gelato & St. Anthony’s Feast festivities. There is nothing like a cool, zesty, refreshing cup of lemon sorbet on a warm summer night. It was a great night, surrounded by the true italians of Boston, it was loud, there was food everywhere, the line to Mike’s Pastry stretched all the way around the block.
On to the food however. I altered a recipe for tomato sauce that I’ve used before, and added some prepared potato gnocchi, a bit of mozzarella and baked it until the cheese just melted. I topped it off with a touch of basil and there it was. I also tried my hand at a olive oil dipping sauce as an appetizer with some ciabatta bread.
This time for the sauce, I started with a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of minced garlic, added a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup water, only 2 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of tomato paste, salt, pepper, a dash of oregano, and the onion and let that simmer away.
A couple nights later, I baked chicken filets in a bit of the tomato sauce, again topped with a bit of mozzarella. I had a side of large whole wheat shells too. I guess it’s not really tomato sauce two ways, I only really changed what it was sitting on, but hey. I’m still learning here. And it also happens to be another scorcher here in Beantown so I wasn’t going to sweat over the stove.