We love the lycopene, but our betrothed is not down with thick tomato sauce.
Fair enough — America’s Test Kitchen to the rescue.
The first recipe is a dreamy, creamy sauce for short pasta. We have prepared a vodka rose sauce we served with slices of chicken rosemary sausage tossed with papardelle.
The second is a great bolognese that tastes as if it’s been cooking all day long.
“Readily available, canned crushed tomatoes trumped canned whole and diced tomatoes—theyíre bright in flavor, easy to puree in the food processor, and contain just the right amount of juice. Before adding the tomatoes to the pot, we cooked a few tablespoons of tomato paste with some onion and garlic, and added sun-dried tomatoes, to deepen the flavor of the sauce. A pinch of red pepper flakes, a splash of wine, and a little minced prosciutto added depth and tamed some of the sauce’s sweetness; a bit of reserved uncooked crushed tomatoes and another splash of wine stirred in before serving brought the sauce’s ingredients together. As for the cream, traditional heavy cream can’t be beat; we added it to the just-finished sauce to enrich it without subduing the bright tomato flavor.”
PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce prosciutto, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small onion, diced fine (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
Pinch red pepper flakes
Table salt 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can)
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
“Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and beginning to turn light gold, 8 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
‘Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (spoon should leave trail when dragged through sauce), 25 to 30 minutes.
“Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
“Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard. Stir cream, remaining 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine into sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with up to 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Stir in basil and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.”
Our first try with a panade. Highly recommended!
Bolognese-style meat sauce in under 60 minutes. The meaty flavor comes from the mushrooms; the beef is NOT browned to prevent it from becoming rubbery. Do not be tempted to use a different fat-percentage. 80% lean beef will yield a greasy sauce. 90% lean will become chewy.
EASY MEAT SAUCE
America’s Test Kitchen
1/4 lb white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 slice white bread (high-quality sandwich bread)
2 tablespoons milk
table salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
6 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, juice drained and reserved
3 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Remove stems from mushrooms. Cut into quarters and toss into food processor. Chop finely, 8-10 1-second pulses. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it smokes. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until soft and very brown, 6-12 minutes.
Pulse milk and bread in food processor until it forms a paste, about 8 pulses. Add salt and pepper. Add beef and pulse until just combined, about 6 pulses.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes and tomato paste to saucepan. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juices (discard or consume the rest). Add 2 tsp fresh oregano (if using dried oregano, add all of it now) and stir well. Add meat mixture and stir until no longer pink, but not yet brown. Add drained, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Stir well, and simmer gently 30 minutes.
6Add remaining fresh oregano and Parmigiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta.