Friday, November 12, 2010

Calamari e Spaghetti alla Salsa Pomodoro

I was making some tomato sauce for an eggplant dish for a recipe blog at a later date.  The sauce was simmering for 4 hours.  The aroma was going right to my hunger senses.  I couldn't resist making a pasta dish, so I could sample the sauce!  New York Italian food is irresistible!  Every family has a tomato sauce recipe they love.  After working for dozens of Italian restaurants, this is my favorite tomato sauce recipe.  The mistake most chefs make when cooking a tomato sauce is to not use enough olive oil.  Too little of an amount of olive oil will cause the tomatoes to stew and become "flat" textured.    

     Salsa Pomodoro Recipe:  Sizzle 8 cloves of chopped garlic and a handful of fine chopped onions in a good amount of olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pot.  (The olive oil proportion should be about 1/10 of the volume of the tomatoes.)  

     Add a sprinkle of crushed, dried red pepper.

     When the onions turn clear, add equal amounts of good quality canned imported Italian crushed plum tomatoes and hand squeezed canned imported whole Italian plum tomatoes in their own juices.  (28 ounce cans is what I used for this recipe.  When hand squeezing tomatoes, pour the can into a mixing bowl and squeeze till no big chunks remain)  

     Add a few generous pinches of oregano.

     Add sea salt and ground black pepper.

     Add 1 small bunch of chopped fresh basil.  

     Pour a glass of dry Italian red wine or French Cabernet into the sauce.  

     Heat the sauce till it starts to bubble and then turn the heat to medium low.  (Never cover the pot of an Italian tomato sauce!)  

     Slow simmer the sauce and stir once every 5-7 minutes for 4 hours.  

     The sauce should be simmering gently so that there is very little bubbling on the surface.  Scrape the sides of the inside of the pot into the sauce too.  That stuff is full of flavor!  

     After 4 hours, the flavors have melded and the tomato sauce has a true body.  The excess tomato huices should be "tightened" into the sauce at this point.   The olive oil will be well combined with the tomatoes, because of the regular stirring.  

     Recipe:  Saute some sliced squid with a very little amount of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  

     Add a ladle or two of the tomato sauce to the squid.  The squid only takes a few seconds to cook.  Don't cook the squid for too much time or the squid will become textured like rubber.  

     Place a pile of hot al dente cooked spaghetti on a plate.  (Be sure that the water is completely drained off of the pasta. 

     Pour the sauce and squid over the pasta.  

     Brush an Italian bread slice with garlic and olive oil.  

     Grill the garlic bread in a saute pan over medium heat till toasted and set it on the plate.  

     Serve the pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  

     This pasta and sauce was a dream come true!  Such a great aroma and an irresistible flavor!  For those of you who open a jar of store bought sauce to cook with, you don't know what you are missing.  This tomato sauce recipe was an award winning recipe that I learned while apprenticing for a great Italian Chef and the ingredients are not complicated by personal taste.  There are no extra ingredients added to this sauce!  No parsley either.  For great Italian food it is not how many ingredients you use, it is the quality and the perfected technique that counts.  The quality of the tomatoes is the key to a great tomato sauce.  So buy the best imported canned Italian tomatoes that you can find!  Open a bottle of fine Chianti and enjoy this recipe.  Ciao baby!  I love New York Italian food!  ...  Shawna

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