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Jul 1, 2010 05:09 PM

*July 2010 COTM - ITALIAN EASY: Basics

Our July cookbooks are ITALIAN EASY and ITALIAN TWO EASY, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the following chapters:

Italian Easy: Sauces and Basics

Italian Two Easy: How to Make...

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Quick tomato sauce, Italian Easy, p259

    Another winner for us. And guess what - easy!

    Fry a clove of sliced garlic in some EVOO, then add two tins of tomatoes. (I think that 400g equates to 14oz roughly for you guys). I used plum tomatoes. Season and cook over a high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes and prevent sticking. The sauce will thicken quickly. Taste, season if necessary, add basil and some more EVOO if you like (I didn't). I then poured this over some nearly cooked meatballs and simmered for about five minutes.

    This was good with a nice, concentrated, pure tomato flavour. Next time i might add a pinch of sugar, because my tomatoes were quite acidic. We really enjoyed our dinner.

    3 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        GG--are those meatballs in that sauce? Are they from these books, too?


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          No - I bought the meatballs in a fit of laziness from the farmer's market. They're literally just very good quality ground beef I think. I fried them gently for about 15 minutes before finishing in the sauce.

      2. Salsa Rossa Piccante (IE, page 259)

        Recommended as an accompaniment for the Pork Chops with Lemon. Tomatoes, peeled and seeded; bread crumbs; chiles, seeded; dried oregano, red wine vinegar, and EVOO “to make a thick sauce.” By the time I was ready to add the EVOO, it was already a thick sauce. Just added a drizzle for flavor. Good stuff. Didn’t think it added much to the pork chops though. Got a lot left. Any recommendations? Thinking grilled or pan-fried white fish. All ideas welcome.

        But one great technique came out of this recipe. For years, decades, when I’ve needed to peel tomatoes, I’ve slashed the skin and put them in a pot of boiling water. The instructions here have you pour boiling water over the tomatoes in a bowl. I suspect the difference has to do with the fact that nearly all in the UK have an electric kettle while very few in the US do. Well, I have one. So, so, much easier, faster, to bring water to a boil in a kettle and pour it over the tomatoes. If this is the only idea I take from this cookbook I will have considered it a success.

        9 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            From your description, this reminds me a bit of romesco (somewhat similar ingredients). Having had that thought, I think your thought of grilled or pan-fried white fish is right on, as would be other seafood preps good with romesco, such as crab or fish cakes, or poached shrimp (either as a sauce or to dunk them in as you would cocktail sauce). Probably also good, like romesco, with roasted summer vegetables like eggplant or zucchini or small potatoes cooked however you like.

            I'm filing away the tomato tip (and I also have an electric kettle). I'm always loath to go to the trouble of blanching and peeling. I've already got the grating tip in my pocket (grate on coarse side of box grater, skin stays behind) for when they need to be peeled and finely chopped.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              What an interesting thought. I always associate romesco with both nuts and garlic. But however one defines it I love all of your suggestions, especially poached shrimp and crab cakes. I see both in my immediate future.

              I'd completely forgotten about the grating tomato tip. Thanks for the reminder.

              1. re: JoanN

                To be sure, I think of romesco as centered around almonds, peppers, garlic. But the tomato, bread crumbs, olive oil seemed common denominators and made me think it might work in similar circumstances.

              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Salsa Rossa Take Two

                Bought politically incorrect shrimp at Costco today and boiled them (using Rick Moonen’s shrimp boil which I hadn’t tried before and which was marvelous). Ate them lukewarm (was hungry!) with the cold Salsa. Wow! It was like it was a totally different condiment. Didn’t make a whole lot of sense, at least for me, with pork chops. Made spectacular sense with boiled shrimp. Lot spicier today than yesterday. Real or perceived? Dunno. But gotta be careful about that if making ahead. This recipe is going into the database, and I still have about a half pint left. More experimentation to follow.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Yeah -- glad the second time around with this was a winner for you, Joan -- you were due for one out of these books! And the pairing with the shrimp sounds delish. (And viewed another way, Costco, with its commitment to paying a living wage to its employees despite pressure from Wall Street analysts and the fact that the vast majority of management comes from the rank and file in the stores, could be seen as politically correct -- although I wish they had more organic and locally sourced too. And, no, I don't work for them.)

              3. re: JoanN

                Hah! That's what I've always done to peel tomatoes. I suspect you're right about the kettle thing.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I Love the kettle & tomato tip. We've always had a kettle and use it for hot water not only for tea but to pour over broccoli and cauliflower to be used for cruditees... to lose a bit of the rawness.

                  Is the sauce too thick for Eggs in Purgatory?

                  1. re: Gio

                    What a great idea to pour hot water over raw vegetables. Going to have to try to remember that.

                    The sauce isn't particularly thick, but Eggs in Purgatory really isn't my kind of thing. (At least, I don't think so. Maybe I ought to try it before making that declaration?) I'm curious, though, now that you mention it, how the sauce might heat up. I was only thinking in terms of using it raw. I've got about a pint left vacuum sealed in the fridge so will have some opportunity to play with it