gnocchi with sausage ragù
1) I have the time.
2) It fragrances the house with good, comforting smells as it bubbles away on the stove.
3) And, it provides us with lunch or dinner another time during the week.
This Sunday it was my tomato sauce or marinara or "gravy" if you're a Soprano.
Mine is a riff on Mario Batali's basic tomato sauce from his Molto Mario cookbook. What I like about it: it uses thyme as the herbal note, which means that it can easily be used for both Italian and non-Italian dishes (like stewed white beans with herbed bread crumbs or eggs poached in tomato sauce, to name just two), it has grated carrot in it to add some nice root-veg sweetness, and it's easy to make. I always make double-batch; this time I used half for some ricotta-spinach stuffed shells for Sunday dinner while the other half awaits its turn in the fridge.
Classic Tomato Sauce
makes 2 quarts
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
4-6 small cloves of garlic minced; or 2 large cloves, minced
4 sprigs of thyme
freshly ground black pepper
2-28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, blitzed in blender for 5 seconds (each can)
2 cups water
Heat a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. When foaming subsides, add olive oil and heat for 30 seconds; add onions and thyme sprigs and sauté for about 5 minutes, until just soft and translucent. Add carrot and garlic. Cook for several minutes, stirring regularly, so carrots and garlic do not brown.
Add blitzed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 10 grinds of black pepper; stir to combine. Carefully rinse blender jar and tomato cans and measure this "tomatoey" water to make 2 cups of water. Add the tomato water to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low; simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce should slowly bubble away on the stove; raise heat slightly to achieve this bubbling. If too high, turn to lowest setting.
Saturday: Salmon chowder with corn and potatoes
Sunday: Stuffed shells with ricotta and spinach with homemade red sauce
Monday: Turkish poached eggs with sage butter; naan
Tuesday: Grilled pear and cheddar cheese sandwiches; mixed greens vinaigrette
Wednesday: roasted carrot and beet salad with cumin-seed vinaigrette; served with hummus and pitas
Friday: sausage and sweet pepper pizza
happy eating, -s.