“You say chunky, I say smooth.” Some people love a smooth tomato sauce others like it chunky. In my April 20th cooking class we made a smooth tomato sauce by using a food mill.
First we sautéed onions and garlic then added seasonings followed by tomato paste, working it in with the back of a wooden spoon, which brings out the flavor of the paste. Then we added the fresh and canned tomatoes. Simmered the sauce for about 30 minutes then put the whole contents of the skillet through a food mill, leaving the skins and the seeds of the tomatoes behind.
Apple sauce is another great use for the food mill. Don’t peel the apples, just leave out the seeds and the stem. After the apples are cooked and you mill them, the skins will be left behind and your sauce will be vibrant with color and more flavor and vitamins from being cooked with the skins.
Penne Arrabiata ©Karen Lee 2013
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ cup diced onions
2 tablespoons diced shallots
½ cup diced leeks (white and light green parts)
1/16 teaspoon cayenne (more if you like spicy)
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers (seeds and membrane removed), and diced (use rubber gloves)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced
28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid (remove basil from can if any); use hands to squeeze and crush into large chunks
1 pound Penne
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle on pasta before serving
1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
Heat oil, add garlic, sauté for 2 minutes over low to medium heat. Add onion, shallots, leeks; sauté for an additional 4 minutes or until the onions just begin to take on color. Add cayenne, sugar, oregano and salt; sauté another 2 minutes to bring out the flavor. Add jalapenos; sauté 1 minute. Add the tomato paste; let sizzle in pan for two minutes. Add the diced fresh tomatoes and the canned tomatoes with their juice; simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce separates.
Cook pasta for half the time the package directs and then taste. Make it al dente. Drain then add to sauce to coat. Turn off heat and toss using two wooden spoons. Place on a serving platter and add the parmesan cheese. Toss again then drizzle with finishing oil and optional chili oil. Garnish with whole sprigs of parsley or basil leaves.