Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!

It's cold.  It's snowing.  It's windy.  The wind chill just dropped to 12 degrees!  It's been forecast that we may get up to 16 inches of snow.  That calls for - a big pot of tomato sauce bubbling on the stove!  Sure to warm up the kitchen, where some of yesterday's dinner aromas still linger...

The scent of tomatoes, garlic and olive oil simmering together with herbs, spices and red wine is almost intoxicating to me.  I find it comforting; a few family members have stated that it will "cure anything."

Today's batch will be missing the fennel seeds that I always put in the sauce as I ran out last week and my order from Mt. Rose Herbs is somewhere between Oregon and New Jersey.  I knew I should have placed that order sooner!  Oh, well - the nice thing about sauce is that you can improvise and it will still be good.  I have some tops of a fennel bulb that I will saute with the garlic, onion and other herbs/spices and that should impart enough of the fennel flavor that I love.

The usual ingredients for my sauce are:  canned San Marzano tomatoes, some tomato paste, olive oil, lots of garlic, onion, salt, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaf, red wine, a pinch of sugar and a piece of rind (washed) from either Grana Padano or Reggiano Parm cheese, which gives a nice, rich depth to the sauce.  I'm hoping my Saucy Sista will show up and share her recipe, which I am sure is delicious!!  Actually, any of you can feel free to share your favorite tomato sauce recipe - I'd love to read what ingredients you use!  I often use the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes in place of the San Marzano to give a different flavor - with that, I'll often fry pancetta and use some of the fat in addition to the olive oil when sauteing the garlic, onions, etc.

Tonight, the sauce will be tossed with some linguine noodles and served with grilled garlic chicken sausage, along with a mixed green salad.  Sure to satisfy on this blizzardy day!

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