Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Homemade Pasta Sauce

Homemade Pasta Sauce - Novelli Style
If you've watched Bravo's Chef Academy - then you've seen how this wonderful sauce is made. I tried it at home to see if it was easy enough to add to my catering recipes and, you know what - it was - and it's one of the best sauces I've ever tried. I can't wait until summertime to use home-grown tomatoes! Please note: Don't let the cook time scare you off. You can leave this on the stove and take care of other things around the house without worrying about it burning up.

For a family of five:
3 ½ # Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Star Anise (I used Anise Extract but plan to order the Stars online for my next batch)

½ Vanilla Pod (again, I used the extract this time but will use a pod next batch)

Sea salt & Cracked Pepper, to season

White Sugar
1 Spring Fresh Thyme

1 Bay Leaf

Fresh Garlic

Fresh Basil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Place a heavy cast iron pan on the stove top to heat up (do not add oil). Core and then halve the tomatoes. Put them into the hot pan and season with salt and pepper.

Add just a touch of sugar. Add the anise and vanilla. As the tomatoes heat up and start to soften, mush them with a masher to release their juice. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.

The online recipe doesn’t tell you much, but if you watch the video Chef Novelli explains that you are trying to remove all the juice from the tomatoes. Cook them until you have a tomato paste.

Once you have a paste, crack the garlic with the flat side of a knife. Don’t slice or mince – you want large pieces. Add this, along with whole basil leaves, to the paste. Simmer for about 20 minutes more. Add olive oil to achieve desired consistency of sauce.
 I put my sauce on a plain chicken breast on a bed of rice pilaf. It was amazing! Online recipe says you can freeze this sauce up to 3 months, but do not add the infusion until ready to serve.


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