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Posted on 13 November 2011 by

Roasted Tomato Bolognaise First Version

By David Harbilas

Bolognaise meat sauce is something that my father used to make often when I was young.

He went through many variations and ended up settling on Mario Batali’s version, which can be found in many of his books.

This version of the sauce makes use of canned plum tomatoes, and much like my recipe for lamb stew in roasted tomato sauce, it benefits from a long, slow cooking in the oven, rather than over the stove.

There is something inexplicable to surrounding the cooking vessel with heat, rather than applying heat directly from a stove-top burner, that creates a flavor far different from simmering.  Serve this with a wide noodle, like papardelle or fettucine.

Serves Many!

Posted on 22 June 2011 by

Tomatoes and Mustard

By David Harbilas

These are not the most outlandish of partners, as tomatoes are sweet and mustard is sharp, the two a great partners to a simple ham and cheese sandwich.

Yet there are other ways to combine tomatoes and mustard that we don’t normally think of.

The most old-fashioned of French classics calls for things like mustard in a choid-froid sauce, that forgotten concoction of mayonnaise and gelatin that coats poached fish served cold with a salad.

Others might be a variation of steak Dianne, the cream sauce enriched with mustard. My favorite is probably French ketchup a mixture of prepared ketchup, brandy, mustard, and mayonnaise.

About the only way I could ever imagine of improving on the original is to roast fresh tomatoes, strain them and reduce the sauce over very low heat Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 20 June 2011 by

Tomato Au Poivre Sauce

By David Harbilas

Tomatoes love to be dirty, and to me one of the best ways to make them taste good is to get them drunk.

Brandy is a natural pairing, as it’s both sweet and rich, and it is also a part of many versions of au poivre sauce.

This is an obvious choice for steak, though it also goes well with chicken and even pork.

It takes little more than brandy, cream, and black pepper to make it complete, though slow simmering and a well-made chicken stock helps.

Make about 4 cups of sauce

Posted on 06 November 2010 by

Austerity and Pasta e Fagiole

pasta-e-fagioliBy David Harbilas

One day last week I went to work faced with the task of feeding my co-workers with little to use.

Our walk-in was full of steak, pork, fish, and vegetables, but all that was set-aside was some chicken.

Luckily, I also found about 10 pounds of heirloom tomato scraps that were, to put it mildly, past peak.

In the spirit of frugal cooking I decided to make pasta e fagiole, the Italian soup of beans and pasta simmered in a tomato broth.

This is a perfect end-of-the-season recipe, since scraps or whole tomatoes that are overripe can be used. A simple puree of tomatoes provides the base, while the beans and pasta provide the meat.

Makes about 1 gallon soup

8 tomatoes, overripe, if possible
1 onion, diced Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 04 November 2010 by

Panzanella: Overripe Tomatoes and Day-Old Bread

panzanellaBy David Harbilas

What good are stale bread and tomatoes that seem destined for the trash?

The Italians found a use, and its simplicity seems to come from years of refinement.

Bread salad, as panzanella is often called, is little more than a mixture of croutons and chopped vegetables tossed with a simple vinaigrette.

Here, they are slightly changed by the addition of pureed tomatoes that are nearly too ripe for any other use. Their near-liquid consistency works perfectly as a dressing for the croutons and vegetables, balanced by a little vinegar and olive oil. Last of the season herbs completes the dish.

Serves 4

Posted on 12 October 2010 by

Putanesca Sauce

puttanescaBy David Harbilas

The literal translation for this sauce is a little too racy to put into print.

Suffice to say, its origins are such that it was popular with “ladies of the night” for its affordability.

Nowadays it’s noted for its combination of sweet, hot, and salty flavors with the use of tomatoes, kalamata olives, and red pepper flakes.

It is almost always paired with pasta, and often chicken or fish is added, though it also goes well with beef and pork.

yields 1/2 gallon sauce

  • 1 dozen ripe red tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flake
  • 2 anchovy filets, chopped (optional)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced Read the rest of this entry »

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