Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Late Summer Yellow Tomato Sauce Makes For A Very Yummy Dish

It's that time of year again.You know my favorite time, Fall. The snap in the air happened last week. This time of year always reminds me of three things. Switzerland, College and the Shenandoah Valley, or the first day of school as a kid. I mean those are all random things I realize but the Fall brings memories from those places out. It's a time when we start to draw in closer as the chill demands we spend more time inside. It's a time of great transitional beauty. For the autumn leaves never linger too long. So they must be enjoyed when they happen. A lesson in living in the now. And of course it brings out the cozy fall and late summer recipes using the last of the season's bounty or relishing the new heartier crops which will see us into winter. For some reason tomatoes are a vegetable that transcends Summer and embraces fall. Moving from summer tomato salads and salsas to soup and sauces. And where there is tomato sauce there is Italian food.

Now I was raised in a Southern American home. Not an Italian American one. And like most Americans in the 1960's and 70's we did not know from Italian food. Spaghetti and Meatballs or Red Sauce and Lasagna were the dishes that we really knew about. There were others like Chicken Parmesan and of course Italian Salad dressing via the "Good Seasons" dressing mix. But for the most part Italian food in all it's glory was not a known quantity unless you lived in the northeast or near some Little Italy in some larger city.

As I have said before on this blog my Italian food epiphany came when I was in Switzerland. It was there as a young man I made acquaintance with a a lovely young family from the Italian part of Switzerland who took me under their wing and taught me all about making delicious Italian food at home. Lasgana and Spaghetti were never the same. And the new dishes like polenta and gnocchi gained a place in my appreciation of all things Italian.

Now while I learned a great many new things I also learned that spaghetti sauce has various incarnations ingredients and flavor profiles. But the classic sauce that American Italian home cooks transformed into what we know today as American Style Spaghetti and meat sauce was a sauce called Bolognese sauce. Classic Bolognese sauce which is credited to the city of Bologna in Italy is a rich vegetable laden tomato sauce flavored with wine into which is incorporated ground veal, pork or beef. It's rich hearty consistency makes it perfect with tube pasta such as penne or long flat noodles such as tagliatelle and even in some versions has a touch of cream in it to enhance it's rich meaty flavor and mouth feel. It is pretty much what we as Americans would consider Spaghetti sauce or Ragu although our version bears little resemblance to the original sauce.

I have been a fan ever since I first tasted it and have tried over the years to come up with a version that I can call my own. This version I believe takes a solid version of this sauce and turns it a little bit on it's head with the addition of yellow tomatoes as a base for the sauce. I first encountered yellow tomato sauce when I ate at Butter in NYC. I thought it was very cool to see this contrast in color with what we normally think of as Tomato sauce. As many of you who read my blog know I am a big fan of color in food. I love it when food make a statement by merely showing up on your plate. And making spaghetti sauce with yellow or orange tomatoes will certainly achieve that for you.

The other element that I like to add to this sauce is the use of Italian Sausage in the sauce instead of plain old ground beef. I just think it gives the sauce a lift. And to balance the sweetness of the yellow tomatoes I like to add touch of vinegar to give the sauce a background flavor. And of course to add richness a good measure of olive oil.

So here is my humble recipe. It's not fussy I don't remove the skins from the tomatoes or strain it or anything crazy. But it does require a little prep and patience. I hope you enjoy Ya'll.

Forrest's Yellow Tomato Bolognese Sauce for Pasta

  • 4 lbs yellow and orange cherry tomatoes, larger cherry tomatoes cut in half (skins will not be a problem if you use larger tomatoes you will have to blanch and peel them.
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 teaspoons fresh basil chopped divided ( some for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup white or vermouth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 pound ground Italian Sausage or sausages removed from the casings.
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/8 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese divided
Heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes. Then add the garlic, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until garlic blooms and all else has begun to soften. Add tomatoes, basil, wine and salt, and stir well to combine ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 1 hour, 15 minutes, stirring frequently to help break down the tomatoes. You can use the back of a wooden spoon to help break down the tomatoes as they cook.
In the meantime in another pan cook off sausage and drain the fat off. hold till ready to combine.
Once the tomato sauce is done cooking remove from heat. Divide the sauce 1/2 and 1/2. Take the one 1/2 and place in a blender. Whirl till smooth then with motor running slowly add the vinegar, the parmesan and the then the olive oil. Process till smooth.
In a pot combine the pureed sauce with the remaining sauce and stir in the sausage and cream. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and serve over your favorite pasta.Garnish with more fresh basil and cheese.  Enjoy Ya'll!!

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