Saturday, August 11, 2012

Garden fresh pasta sauce

This was the perfect, cool day I've been waiting for in order to make my red sauce -- which involves lots of steaming water for scalding the tomatoes, then an all day simmer. Not something I'd choose to do on a normal August day around here.

Fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes from the garden, washed and waiting to be scalded, then peeled.

Peeled, rough-chopped, ready to cook. Juices already flowing.

Fresh basil, garlic and onion -- also from the garden.

Onions and garlic sauteed together.

Basil added without chopping.

Let it cook all day -- and you have Mama Nina's famous red sauce.
I learned to make this sauce way back in the day when I did a year-long stint as line cook at Mama Nina's, a northern Italian restaurant in Yountville, Napa Valley. I only had one day per week when I did set-up -- meaning I worked all day, made all the necessary sauces including this one. The rest of the time I worked evenings only, which was great for me. We used canned tomatoes, but other than that the process and recipe are the same. I may go a little heavier on garlic and basil than we did then, but since we made it daily in a huge pot, it's really hard to compare proportions (not to mention hard to remember!). It tastes right, which means really, really good. We used this mostly on pasta, but also for layering lasagna.

So now I have a good supply -- after an overnight chill, I'll pack it into small canning jars and put it in the freezer, for individual use over the winter. I expect that some of it will not make it quite that long. The best part is that literally everything aside from salt and coconut oil came from my garden. I love it even more because of that.

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