Truth be told… the week was ending and there was no new and fabulous post in sight. Sometimes I write things in advance, but many times, I donut. So I am basically telling ya what I had for dinner tonight.
Anyhoo, I have taught this recipe six times to my Cooking Matters classes and each time, everyone raves about how srcum-dilly-umptious and simple it truly is.
What is fabulous about this recipe is that you don’t need much on hand to pull it off and you can use it with pasta, on top of a protein like fish or chicken or in a pizzadilla, which is how I taught it in my classes.
I am also including a bonus track about how to cook eggplant perfectly and not screw it up.
KILLER 20 (or sometimes 30) MINUTE TOMATO PAN SAUCE
INGREDIENTS – feeds 2
1 huge heirloom tomato or two-four normal ripe hot house tomatoes. DO NOT USE ROMA, they have no juice.
1-2 T Dried Oregano ( don’t be scared of Oregano )
1 t chili flakes ( takes the flavor to a whole new level)
7 cloves of garlic (don’t freak… only 3 go into the sauce)
4 T olive oil (or more if you aren’t afraid)
1-2 T fresh basil julienned (if you don’t have it, the sauce will still be killer)
Sea Salt (you don’t need black pepper because of the chili flakes)
Grated Pecorino cheese for finishing (optional)
Smash 4 garlic cloves and heat on medium in the olive oil until just brown and remove
Add finely chopped tomato, oregano, chili flakes and three more smashed garlic cloves to the pan
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat slightly
Make sure you don’t burn your tomatoes and add a little more olive oil if it gets a teensy bit dry
When the sauce is reduced by a 1/3, add julienned basil and serve
BLISTER YOUR EGGPLANT
There are a lot of terms that are important in cooking and when it comes to eggplant, the term BLISTERING is really important. If you are not an expert at eggplant, but love to eat it… here is how you do it.
Buy Japanese eggplant… easy to wrangle. Cut in half lengthwise. or cut big eggplant in small pieces.
Do not add salt to the eggplant beforehand
Heat 3 T olive oil on medium to high heat…. Throw some smashed garlic in for flavor, but remove before it burns
Place small pieces of eggplant in frying pan with a good amount of space in between… oil might pop and splatter a bit
Saute for a minute or two depending on the width of the eggplant until it is brown. Repeat on the other side.
Sprinkle with sea salt after
Add to the already made pasta sauce when you are ready to serve, but don’t overcook. You want the skin to maintain a snap and the flesh to have texture.
DON’T RUIN YOUR TOMATOES
Never refrigerate tomatoes! If they begin to get a little funky on the counter, make this sauce. According to Alton Brown and science, refridgerating them creates a chemical that makes them bitter.
FRESH DRIED HERBS AND SPICES ARE A MUST
Buy good dried oregano, preferrably organic. NEVER buy spices or dried herbs in one of those racks.. they have been on the shelf for years. Smell your spices and dried herbs, if they don’t smell amazing. Dump them.
PULL A CAPER
Capers are really good in this sauce and soon I will show you how to fry them, but until then, add them to tomato sauce or any sauce. They are good.
NO ONE LIKES TO FLOSS WITH TOMATO PEEL
When making a pan sauce with fresh tomatoes, chop them really finely so the skins don’t get stuck in your teeth or distract from the tastiness of the sauce.