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September 2012 COTM My Calabria: Antipasti, Pasta, Soup, Rice, Polenta

Please post here your reviews for these dishes:

Antipasti…..21 - 44

Pasta…..45 - 92

Soup, Rice, Polenta…..93 -112

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  1. Rigatoni all Pastora – Shepherd’s style Rigatoni w Ricotta and Sausage – p. 75

    Delicious! The sum is much greater than the few individual parts of this dish and I loved learning a new and simple method of making a creamy sauce for pasta.

    I’m fortunate to have a good selection of Italian butcher’s in close proximity so finding freshly made fennel sausage wasn’t an issue (there is a recipe for the sausage in the book if folks can’t find it though). Also, though I do love homemade ricotta, I picked some freshly made at the same butcher shop. Given that this was a Friday night dinner and had to be prepared after work, time was of the essence.

    Prep is straightforward. Though rc (the author) suggests you use a table knife to break the de-cased sausage meat into olive-sized chunks I always find it quicker to use kitchen shears so that’s what I did. EVOO is heated in a medium skillet and the sausage is sautéed until browned then kept warm. As I was pressing my ricotta through a sieve I said “I’ll bet this is the engineer in the author having me do this” and sure enough, as I read the head note today, she does note that the Calabrian cooks wouldn’t do so!! Nonetheless, though this did take a little more time, what it does is totally break down the ricotta so when you add some pasta water to create the sauce, it comes together quickly and effortlessly. Once the pasta is cooked everything is tossed together along w some (optional) grated pecorino cheese. I also added some fresh basil to my finished dish and, much to mr bc’s dismay, I also went w the optional ground hot red pepper. (mr bc concluded he would have preferred the dish without the hot pepper so next time I’ll pass at the table). The rest of us enjoyed the kick.

    One thing I’d do differently next time is to ease up on my usual salting of the pasta water as I found that it made the “sauce” a bit too salty for our tastes. Otherwise this was a wonderful dish and I’ll definitely make it again. I think some fresh peas would make a great addition or even some rapini since the creaminess of the sauce would counter any bitterness from the rapini.

     
     
     
    5 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Looks delicious, as always. Was there a tomato sauce involved?

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Oh good! I have this on my list of things to make. And thanks for the salting tip. How about maybe adding some arugula (instead of the peas or rapini) to the sauce? That would help make it a one pot meal.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Shepherd's style Rigatoni with Ricotta and Sausage (http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

          Wish I had reread BC's report, as the website version doesn't offer the option of adding hot pepper, just ground black pepper (and I added a lot of that). I wish I'd thought of it myself. We liked this - a nice hearty meal on a cool and very rainy day, but it was somehow lacking something. I think the hot pepper would have helped it out. I used turkey sausage but otherwise followed the recipe to a t. I liked the parsley and basil and thought that did give it a leg up. But I can't say we were wow'd by this one. We loved the tomato and red onion salad (also from the website) that I served with it.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Rigatoni alla Pastora (Shepherd’s style Rigatoni w Ricotta and Sausage), page 75.

            Breadcrumbs took the right approach with this dish; anything with so few ingredients needs them to be top notch. We are away for the weekend, without access to our usual cheesemonger, or even our usual kitchen utensils! I did bring some wonderful hot Italian sausage made by our local ranch, but I had to settle for less-than-ideal grocery store ricotta. I also did not have a sieve to press the ricotta, so I don't know how much of a difference that would make. The outcome was fine. I used a moderately decent pecorino, and I did add the hot pepper. I love pasta that does not have tomato sauce, I'd even rather have it tossed with a little olive oil and garlic. A simple pasta with cheese is also a favorite. Mr. NS requested I make it again when we can get good ricotta (or I can make my own), so it was definitely a partial success. I like the above ideas of adding something green, peas or arugula, and I may try that.

            I'm not even going to share my dark, monochromatic photos. I'll just gaze fondly on Breadcrumbs' pictures.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Rigatoni all Pastora, p. 75
              Shepherd’s style Rigatoni with Ricotta and Sausage

              Eh. Tonight was my turn to make this. Heck I made the sausage almost two weeks ago! Today I made the ricotta. Her instructions takes several hours more than my dump in some lemon juice at temperature, but the results are so much better! The curd is soft instead of seized, and the yield is significantly higher. Sad that I know this because I will never be able to go back to my less-than-an-hour-from-start-to-finish again.

              I found myself a tad irritated as I struggled to cut off the casing. I mean, if I didn't need the casing, why did she instruct me in the sausage recipe to use one? Like breadcrumbs, I used scissors. I added some thawed peas and the crushed red pepper flakes.

              The sausage is delicious! The ricotta is delicious! But the sum of the parts was a bit ho-hum. It is good, but not good enough to be the only dish on the table. I made a half recipe and between the two of us, we only finished about a third. Need to consider ways to make the leftovers more exciting and vibrant.

              Since breadcrumbs had posted pictures, I didn't bother to take any tonight.

            2. I made the quick tomato sauce on page 53. I used canned tomatoes, but I minced my garlic and used twice as much ....about 4-5 cloves. The garlic does not overwhelm the sauce IMO. It is fresh and light a very clean tasting sauce not muddled with too many flavors. Tonight I am going to use it for the marinara/dipping sauce for Fried Eggplant Calabrese (not in this book) and will use the remainder for the zucchini lasagna in this book later in the week.

              51 Replies
              1. re: angelsmom

                Sugo di Pomodoro – Quick Tomato Sauce – p. 53

                I planned to make the Eggplant Parmesan (p. 252) for dinner and since I had a little extra time in the kitchen yesterday, I decided to make this sauce. In reading the author’s head note it’s clear that in the Calabrian’s tomato sauce, the tomatoes must be the star. No onions, celery, carrot, oregano or sugar. Only a “hint” of fresh basil and “the merest scent” of garlic says the author. As I’ve reported before, willpower is not a strong suit and try as I might, I had to cave and “garlic-fy” this sauce and, make full use of my lovely opal basil.

                I found the recipe online so I’ll post it here for folks who may not have the book. I’d note that with respect to the ingredients the author does offer some options not shown online. 3.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced or 1 qt of home canned peeled tomatoes may be used in place of the 28 oz can (and is likely preferred). The pepper can be fresh or dried.

                http://www.food.com/recipe/quick-toma...

                This recipe is similar to my go-to marinara except I use lots of sliced garlic and a handful of basil. I also use dried chili flakes and a bit of water (to rinse the can) in my sauce.

                In the end I didn’t feel guilty about bastardizing this sauce w my extra garlic and basil since I was still working within the spirit of the recipe by using only ingredients already called for and, I was working w canned tomatoes vs fresh. I may make this w fresh tomatoes and see if I can manage to stick to the recipe to find out how good the tomatoes alone can taste. Or perhaps someone else will do this and let us know what they think.

                In any event, this made for a luscious, thick, rich tomato-ey sauce that was perfect on its own and in the Eggplant dish I’ll report on later.

                 
                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  This was my story exactly,added much me garlic and basil. I thinking miss the oregano, but I will use it again. I tried to use my garden tomatoes, but after skinning an cutting open they were all core ,,,,,,back to canned.

                2. re: angelsmom

                  Sugo di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce), p. 53

                  I have made this sauce a couple times now, once for the pork meatballs, and again last night for the Eggplant Parmigiano on p. 252. I love this simple sauce. I make it as directed, with just 5 basil leaves, torn in half, and two cloves of garlic, cut in half. This doesn't take any willpower on my part, because I learned years ago that I prefer my tomato sauces simple, and most of the ones I make have little or no garlic. Once upon a time, I too was a garlic addict who couldn't imagine a tomato sauce without minced garlic in it, then one day I decided to give a cookbook author the benefit of the doubt, and followed a recipe in which the only garlic was one split clove rubbed on the inside of the serving bowl and then discarded. A revelation. Then there were Marcella Hazan's delightful minimalist sauces. If you've never let tomatoes be the star of their own sauce, I can't encourage you strongly enough to do so.

                  The author gives some options for the tomatoes here. In her discussion of canned tomatoes on p. 11, she specifies preferring ones with no citric acid and no calcium chloride added, a recommendation I heartily agree with. She also specifies San Marzano tomatoes, but in my opinion, the lack of additives is the more important feature than geographical origin. At my local natural foods store (Earth Fare, for those of you in the Southeast), the house brand of canned whole peeled tomatoes contain only tomatoes, tomato juice, and salt. And they are really nice tomatoes, with no extra bits of skin hanging on, and great flavor. So that is what I use here. I crushed them in a bowl with my hands, as directed. To make the sauce, two split cloves of garlic are sauteed in olive oil. The tomatoes are then poured in, with much splattering. Then you add 5 leaves of basil, torn in half (I have to smile as the specificity of this), and salt. A fresh or dried chile, halved, is optional. I used a dried chile. This simple mixture simmers for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are broken down and it makes a sauce. And that's it. Dress your pasta, simmer your meatballs, layer it into your eggplant Parmigiana. The flavors are clear and bright and it's all about the wonder of tomatoes.

                  There is one small issue with this recipe, however. If you are using fresh or home-canned tomatoes, they will have no salt added. I think the amount of salt specified in the recipe, 2 tsp, is calculated under this scenerio. If you use store-bought canned tomatoes, they will have salt already added. But the author doesn't tell you to reduce the salt if you use this option. Because I was using store-bought tomatoes, I reduced the salt to a scant teaspoon, and that was plenty for my taste.

                  1. re: MelMM

                    I have tried this recipe with both fresh romas and canned tomatoes (with tomatoes as the only ingredient) and they are both delicious. The taste of fresh tomatoes really comes through.

                    When we cooked from Grace Young's books, I began to appreciate the subtlety of certain dishes. I agree that this recipe and Hazan's (another recipe I made this long weekend with my surfeit of romas) make the tomato the star.

                  2. re: angelsmom

                    Quick Tomato Sauce

                    Another one here to sing the praises of this beautifully simple recipe. I tried to follow it as closely as possible, using a medley of different fresh tomatoes. I must admit that I couldn't bring myself to de-seed the tomatoes.....I tried, and could only get through a couple. It pained me to let even a miniscule amount of my small garden's bounty go to waste.
                    I thrust an immersion blender into the pan for a couple of swirls, as this sauce was destined for use as dipping/pizza.

                    This was an excellent way to showcase the simple beauty of the summer tomato. I wish I had made a double batch.

                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      Made this last night to top penne (along with her eggplant "meatballs.) Used fresh romas and the sauce came out rather dry. We drizzled on a little excellent olive oil, and all was well. Agree with you on the seeding -- next time won't do it, lost too much liquid.

                    2. re: angelsmom

                      Sugo di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce) p. 53

                      Oh this is noteworthy -- I liked it immediately, more than the kind with butter in it, more than any I can think of with mushrooms, onion, oregano, etc. Such a fresh *correct* flavor! I used mostly ripe romas, but a couple of fat yellow "heirlooms" too, so the color was a little pale maybe. Lots of seed in it, chunky and wonderful. Used the prescribed amount of basil and garlic. I put half over plain thin spaghetti (excellent lunch!) and saved half for the Dromësat soup, page 60, will report on that shortly in this thread, different post.

                       
                      1. re: blue room

                        Couldn't agree with you more re: "the kind with butter in it" or the ones with all those other ingredients. Correct flavor... I like your phrasing. That's exactly how I feel about it. Glad to hear I'm not alone.

                        1. re: MelMM

                          I'm learning to discriminate here @ Chowhound. I'll probably turn into a .. foodie
                          :)

                          1. re: blue room

                            Probably? Hate to break to you, but I think you're already there. But let's come up with a better word for it.

                      2. re: angelsmom

                        Sugo di Pomodoro, Pg. 53

                        This sauce is part of my DNA and I have made practically every week of the year since I've been married. I'm thrilled to read that so many of you feel the way I do: that this quick and easy tomato sauce is fresh tasting and bright. It enhances everything it's used for whether pasta or meatballs, for eggplant parm or stuffed peppers. I'll be making it all this month...

                        1. re: Gio

                          Gio, this is the sauce that I make, and have made my entire life. No onions, no oregano-- just garlic, salt and plum tomatoes. I use it like that for a marinara, and add different things to it to make a putanesca, a meat sauce, etc., etc. IMO, it's the best, purest tomato sauce.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I rather thought so, Roxlet. I always have a jar or two in the fridge. When I recently made the ciambotta from My Calabria I thought how I usually Start with this sauce then add grilled or roasted vegetables to it...

                            1. re: Gio

                              That's how my mother made her ciambotta.

                        2. re: angelsmom

                          Emergency inquiry! I'd like to make a triple batch of this sauce - one recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of oil - how much should I use for the triple batch? 9 tb of oil sounds like an awful lot.

                          1. re: Westminstress

                            Westminstress I made a quadruple batch on Friday. The Idea is to ensure you have enough oil to cover the base of your pan so you can effectively cook the garlic until golden. My pan was a little larger on Friday and I'd guess I used approx 1/4 c. of evoo so just 1 tbsp more for 4 times the sauce. IMHO the oil is not a key component of the dish, rather just a vehicle to facilitate the cooking.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Thanks, I was thinking I'd use about that much, then worried that wasn't enough. Glad my instincts were on target, and I'm off to get started now! Thanks again especially for your quick response.

                              1. re: Westminstress

                                Have fun Westminstress and buon appetito!

                          2. re: angelsmom

                            And I'm back to report on the Sugo di pomodoro. Others have described the technique so I won't elaborate. I made a triple batch of sauce in my Dutch oven rather than the recommended skillet. I tripled everything except the oil, of which I used 1/4 cup. For my tomatoes I used three boxes of pomi chopped tomatoes, which have no additives. This made a lovely sauce! I was surprised how much i liked it. My usual go to sauce is Marcella's butter and onion sauce. Like that sauce, this one is pure and simple and involves little chopping. The basil flavor really came through and I liked how quickly it came together. While I think I still like Marcella's sauce for winter, this might become my new default sauce for summer. Very very nice!

                            1. re: angelsmom

                              Sugo di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce), page 53

                              I was able to find some luscious tomatoes, but not enough to make the double recipe I had planned, so I added canned of tomatoes also. I made the recipe as written, except for adding a pinch of baking soda at the end to adjust the acidity I could taste from the canned tomatoes. A fine, simple sauce. And a perfect one for the Raviolini Calabresi, reviewed downthread.

                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                Sugo di pomodoro

                                Wow. This sauce was a revelation to me. I'm so glad for COTM to introduce me to things like this. I have to admit I thought of pasta with tomato sauce as kids food and had basically no guilt about using barilla out of a jar. Obviously didn't know what I was missing!

                                I had many home grown heirloom tomatoes which had split from the recent rain. I supplemented those with canned and made double recipe. Everyone loved it from picky toddlers to my "I don't like Italian food" husband. Served it both with pasta and made the excellent eggplant Parmesan.

                                Smiling to myself still at the revelation.

                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                  I felt the same way-- and it certainly makes me wonder what else is out there!

                              2. re: angelsmom

                                Sugo di Pomodoro (Quick Tomato Sauce), page 53

                                Wow, there are a lot of people who've made this recipe. Like everyone here I was blown away at how easy and simple this was but what a great result. I used canned tomatoes which is a bit daft in tomato season but I don't grow them and I didn't have enough in the house. My tomatoes were San Marzano but did have citric acid in so I will have to find another brand and see if it makes a difference.The flavor from the garlic, basil, salt and good tomatoes was great. Why would anyone buy tomato sauce in a jar when this sauce is so great? I served it with the Polpette alla Verbicarese on p.209.

                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                  It's pretty hard to find commercial canned tomatoes without citric acid. I'm fortunate that my local natural food store house brand is without additives, and they are fantastic. If you can find them that way, I highly recommend it. But from what I've seen, even the high dollar brands of San Marzano tomatoes tend to have citric acid.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    Have you tried Pomi? They are not canned, rather tetra pak'd,but no citric acid, no salt added, not san marzano, but imho, pretty darn good.

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Yes, I've tried them, but the Pomi boxes I can get here are all crushed or pureed, not whole, and I prefer to cook with whole tomatoes, even when making a sauce.

                                      The ones my natural food store (Earth Fare) is carrying are whole, have no citric acid, no calcium chloride. They aren't San Marzano either, but they are fantastic, better than Pomi to my taste. To me, the lack of additives trumps geography.

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        For canned tomatoes, the author recommends (on p. 12) San Marzanos that have neither citric acid nor calcium chloride. I wish she had given the names of brands that are additive-free, as I haven't been able to find one. I'll check the natural foods store near me to see what they stock, but I suspect they won't be San Marzanos either.

                                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                                          The other thing I'm seeing with all the brands of true San Marzanos I've found locally, is that they have some basil added to the can. I don't want that, I want to buy just plain tomatoes, as they may get used in dishes where I don't want basil, or it wouldn't be appropriate.

                                          Besides the lack of additives, what I like to see in a canned tomato is that they are evenly ripe, and that they are truly peeled and don't have bits of skin still sticking to them. The ones I've been getting from Earth Fare have been perfect in this regard. I've had some from Muir Glen that have (in addition to the unwanted citric acid) green shoulders and large pieces of skin still stuck to them. Not what I want for my sauce.

                                          1. re: MelMM

                                            Mel. I agree exactly. I had been buying the whole foods brand organic because I try to use only organic since I am feeding 3 young kids. Unfortunately, they have had green shoulders and pieces of skin. Are the earth fare ones organic? I never shop there, but I see they have one in Raleigh.

                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              The Earth Fare ones are organic. Ingredients are tomatoes, tomato juice, and sea salt.

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                If it is possible to can tomatoes using only tomatoes and sea salt, I wonder why all those other brands use calcium chloride and citric acid. ?? Cosmetic reasons?
                                                Do the Earth Fare tomatoes look different from the others?

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  I think the citric acid makes up for inconsistent quality in the tomatoes. With the citric acid added, they can get the same acidity in every can even if the tomatoes vary.

                                                  The Earth Fare tomatoes look great. They are a deep red throughout, no green spots, no skin left on. They squish easily in my hands when I crush them to make sauce (a quality I like).

                                            2. re: MelMM

                                              I've done some Internet research on canned tomatoes and found some interesting things. I found a brand of tomatoes (not DOP)--Carmelina--that has no additives and no basil. Reviews are generally positive, although I read one that was scathingly negative and said that the tomatoes tasted like the can they were packed in. They are reasonably priced and can be purchased through Amazon.com, if one is willing to buy a case of 12. I also believe that some ShopRite markets carry them, although there aren't any in my area.

                                              Second, I found an article that Janet Fletcher (yes, the same Janet Fletcher who is the co-author of My Calabria) wrote in 2003 about canned tomatoes. She talks about why producers add calcium chloride to their tomatoes. Americans expect to see a plump tomato when they open the can. Quite the opposite, Italians know that tomatoes with calcium chloride don't break down easily in a sauce and they don't want them. There's also an economic reason that the producers add this chemical. Firm tomatoes don't lose weight or volume during processing, so they can get away with putting fewer in the can. Janet also conducted a taste test with several brands. She concluded that her home grown tomatoes were the best (surprise!). She liked Muir Glen, a brand that people seem either to love or hate. She didn't like Pomi all that much. Here's the reference to her article, which is well worth reading:

                                              http://www.sfgate.com/recipes/article...

                                              Third, Janet and several other sources were enthusiastic about a brand named Il Miracolo di San Gennaro. San Marzanos were almost eradicated about 20 years ago by a virus and were "resurrected" with the development of a more disease-resistant plant. Essentially all of the growers switched to seed for the hardier variety, but some people claim that the flavor is inferior. However,the tomatoes for Il Miracolo di San Gennaro are supposedly grown from the original seed. Unfortunately, there appears to be only one source for them now in the US, through Gustiamo. At $13.50 a can, not many of us will be using them for everyday cooking.

                                              http://www.gustiamo.com/cgi-bin/front...

                                              There are several reviews posted on the Internet in which various brands of canned tomatoes (San Marzano and others) are compared. It's frustrating to read them. There's no consistency in the rankings. One reviewer will rate a brand highly, while another reviewer will rank it considerably lower. I also have the sense that quality can vary enormously within a single brand. One can get excellent tomatoes in one can, and not-so-good tomatoes in another can.

                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                Interesting about those miracle tomatoes! Thanks for this post, cheesemaestro. I suppose the length of time the tomatoes have been in the can affects them too--.

                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                  Thanks for the link to the Fletcher article, cheesemaestro. It was an interesting read.

                                                  I used to like Muir Glen, but in the past couple years they seem to have gone downhill, or my tastes have changed. I'm always getting lots of skin still on the tomatoes, and they are green around the shoulders. Plus they use both citric acid and calcium chloride. The calcium chloride makes them too firm for my taste.

                                            3. re: MelMM

                                              got it, that makes sense. i use the chopped pomi, not crushed, and am happier with them than any canned san marzano i've tried. totally agree the lack of additives makes all the difference. have never tried the earth fare brand.

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                I found this page, tomato opinion from Cook's Illustrated, while looking for canned tomato info:
                                                http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...
                                                I'll continue to taste test for myself, between summers.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  The brand I have been using (that does contain citric acid) just has a tomato on the label repeated (though it is elongated and looks more like an eggplant) with San Marzano written on the image (I buy them at Whole Foods). So I assume the brand is just called San Marzano. Because it has Polpa di pomodoro running around the top and bottom of the label I assumed it is Italian but I found that the tomatoes are grown in the USA. MelMM - what do you find is the difference with citric acid free canned tomatoes? I thought the sauce made with these tomatoes was pretty good so I'd love to know whether it is worth trying to track down the Earth Fare brand.

                                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                                    Sweeter, more pure tomato flavor, is the difference I taste when the citric acid is absent. However, tastes do vary, and some people might prefer the taste with the citric acid. The calcium chloride is a firming agent, so tomatoes that contain it do not break down as easily into a sauce. Once again, some might consider that a good thing, but I don't.

                                                    Jane, I don't know where you live, but Earth Fare is a chain of natural foods supermarkets based in Asheville, NC, and found mainly in the Southeast US. This is their store brand, so if you don't live where there is an Earth Fare, you're out of luck. Maybe some others will find brands available other parts of the country.

                                              2. re: qianning

                                                If you have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine or website, they just taste tested whole canned tomatoes in March.

                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                  I've read their article, but I disagree with the criteria. For example, their winning tomato is exactly the one I've decided I won't ever buy again.

                                                  For example, from their review of the winning tomato, Muir Glen:
                                                  "The addition of calcium chloride gave the tomatoes a “nice firm texture” that held up even after hours of simmering."

                                                  This is not what I want for my tomato sauce. It is also not what the author of "My Calabria" wants. If that is what you want, fine, but not me. My recent experience with Muir Glen tomatoes is that they have been horrible. In addition to having the calcium chloride, which makes them not break down easily, they have tended to be under-ripe, and have a lot of large pieces of skin still on them.

                                                  I think if you want to use a canned tomato in an application where you want them to remain firm and intact, you will like Muir Glen and other brands that contain calcium chloride. But when I use a canned tomato, I want it to break down. Calcium chloride is only a problem for me. There is also a question of how much acidity you want. For me, I prefer ripe tomatoes with no added acid. Once again, others' tastes will vary, depending upon how they use canned tomatoes.

                                                2. re: qianning

                                                  I agree, I like the pomi crushed tomatoes. Along with the other attributes you mention, the packaging is BPA free, which is a big concern for me as I have young children.

                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                    My absolute Go To canned tomato was Pastene Kitchen Ready. All my family for several generations used that brand. (The company having been founded in the North End of Boston in the 1800s it was in the family's Rule Book, LOL) The product was just about all natural and made a tasty sauce. However, ever since I discovered Pomi brand when cooking with Mario Batali and River Cafe recipes Pomi has replaced the Pastene. It has a pure tomato flavor. The box instead of can appeals to me as well.

                                            4. re: angelsmom

                                              Sugo di Pomodoro, Quick Tomato Sauce, page 53

                                              Way behind the curve here, as tonight was my first time making Sugo di Pomodoro. I used the resulting sauce on a pizza with spicy Italian Sausage, grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

                                              I love this! What a deep flavor for so few ingredients. I made it exactly as instructed, including removing the garlic before serving. I used Pomi tomatoes since I had no tomatoes left after making Gunst's Roasted Tomato Sauce.

                                              1. re: angelsmom

                                                Sugo di Pomodoro, p. 53

                                                I made this quick sauce for the Eggplant Parmigiano recipe, and like others here, I was delighted with how easy and delicious it was. (The recipe is almost exactly like one my aunt gave me, from her Italian mother; I'm not sure, but I think she was from Sicily.)

                                                I wish I could have tried this with fresh tomatoes, but any good ones here are long gone. I made them with canned San Marzanos, Rega brand. I confess, I had never checked thelabel for ingredients, always assuming there would just be tomatoes. But the discussion here prompted me to check, and I was happy to discover that they have no additives, no citric acid, except for the annoying basil leaf. I buy these by the case and have been happy with them, but I have never done a side-by-side taste test. (I have also used Pomi and liked those as well, but they used to be almost impossible to find here.)

                                                1. re: angelsmom

                                                  Sugo di Pomodoro, pg. 53

                                                  Add me to the long list.

                                                  1. re: angelsmom

                                                    Sugo di Pomodoro, p. 53

                                                    I've made this sauce twice, once for the Dromësat soup recipe and last night for the Polpette alla Verbicarese (pork meatballs). I used Roma tomatoes from the farmers market both times. With so many reviews of the sauce already posted, there's not much new to say. The second time I made the sauce I added the hot red pepper. The result was very good, but I like the sauce better without the pepper. Still, an outstanding, yet simple, sauce to have in one's repertoire.

                                                    A question about equivalency, especially as most of us will be using canned tomatoes as good fresh ones disappear from markets. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes or one 28 oz. can of canned tomatoes. Now, 3.5 pounds = 56 oz., exactly double the weight of what's in the can, and that doesn't take into account the fact that the can isn't 100% tomatoes; it also contains juice or puree. When I made the recipe yesterday, I used 19 plum tomatoes. There certainly aren't that many in a can. I'm at a loss to understand how just one can of tomatoes would make the same amount of sauce. Am I missing something here?

                                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                      Totally guessing here but... could it be that when we weigh our garden/farmers market tomatoes the tomatoes are full of seeds/core/meaty interior. When we use a 28 oz. can the tomatoes have been cored/seeded/skinned. Thus the disparity...

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        I did consider the loss from the skins, seeds and cores, but I can't imagine it amounts to anywhere near half the weight of the tomatoes. I guess I'll have to try the recipe with canned tomatoes and see how much sauce it makes.

                                                      2. re: cheesemaestro

                                                        I found this, might shed some light--
                                                        http://homecooking.about.com/od/foode...
                                                        I admit, I just use what seems right at the time.

                                                    2. Soup with porcini and potatoes (from her website)

                                                      This one sounded simple but good to me, and that is exactly what it was. I would say it was better than one might expect, mainly because you sort of mash some of the potatoes which makes the soup slightly creamy. You cut potatoes, coat with heated olive oil in the pan and then add heated broth (I used chicken) and simmer for 20 minutes. Once that time is up, take a fork (I used a potato masher) and smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot. In a separate pan saute cut up mushrooms (I couldn't find fresh porcini, used baby bellas instead) with a sprig of thyme and olive oil. Combine the two, add a bit more broth and cook about 5 minutes more. Again, smash up a bit more of the potato. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish, if you'd like, with a drizzle of olive oil and some croutons (I just served ciabatta on the side, along with an Italian Two Easy green bean and parmesan salad). This hit the spot, even on a hot and thunderstormy day.

                                                      https://sites.google.com/site/calabri...

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        LLM I saw this on the website and bookmarked it. So glad to know it was delicious. I've never seen fresh porcini here. The ones that were labeled as "fresh" were imported and damp. The baby bellas sound like a great sub and I have some porcini powder that I sprinkle in (pick it up at The Spice House in Chicago when we visit). I'll definitely give this a try. Thanks!!

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          I thought I must be crazy when I couldn't find fresh porcini. Thanks for letting me know it isn't just me. I think the idea of adding porcini powder is brilliant, although I'm not sure it needs it.

                                                          1. re: mbfant

                                                            Cremini mushrooms are sometimes marketed as Baby Bellas... they're just teenage portobellas.

                                                        2. Cavatieddi con Pomodori Gratinati al Forno (Pasta “Gnocchi” with Roasted Tomatoes and Breadcrumbs p. 57

                                                          Looking for a recipe to use up some of my roma tomatoes and found this one. The sauce is made in the oven. Pour a little olive oil into an oven safe dish, add roma tomatoes (peeled, seeded and sliced in half), season with salt and pepper (I did not use the whole amount suggested because the cheese added plenty of salt), add the breadcrumb mixture (toasted fresh breadcrumbs, fresh oregano, parsley and grated pecorino romano), drizzle with more oil and bake at 450F for 20 minutes. The tomatoes are very soft and are crushed to make the sauce. Add cooked cavatieddi and serve with additional cheese.

                                                          This is a rustic, hearty dish. It was so hearty that that my husband had asked if there was meat in the dish. The cavatieddi was a new shape to me and this is the first time I’ve made fresh pasta without eggs. It has been a while since I’ve made fresh pasta, but the dough seemed firmer (or maybe I have not kneaded in a long time). My execution could have been better as the pasta shapes were a little bigger than the picture in the book, but the larger shaped captured the sauce making for a tasty mouthful with each bite.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            Cavatieddi con Pomodori Gratinati al Forno
                                                            Pasta “Gnocchi” w Roasted Tomatoes & Breadcrumbs, Pg. 57

                                                            What do you do with an enormous box of plum tomatoes in a CSA basket? Why make as much sauce as you can, of course. And that's what we did last night. I don't think I've ever made a roasted tomato sauce before, roasted tomatoes yes, but no sauce.

                                                            This was terrific...deep tomato flavor seasoned with plenty of garlic, and EVOO Instead of oregano I used basil and eliminated the breadcrumbs. Didn't need them. Included hot chili powder but mixed it with the freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Sliced 15 fairly large plum tomatoes, scraped out the seeds, etc. (refrigerated the scrapings in a covered bowl to use later.) Followed the baking and serving directions using Barilla Rigatoni. Because of the larger amount of tomatoes I roasted them about 45 minutes to make sure they were collapsed. Molto delizioso. There's about 15 tomatoes left to make More Sauce.

                                                          2. Polpette de Melanzane (Crispy Eggplant Meatballs) p.32

                                                            These tasty little spheres were surprisingly good, though calling them 'meatballs' is a far stretch of the imagination.....more like croquetas than anything. I made the mistake of calling them meatballs when I served at dinnertime, to much protest from the purists. All were gobbled up without delay in spite of that oversight.

                                                            Eggplant is cut up and boiled until soft. I used two asian eggplants, which worked out just swell. When cooked, it is drained and then wrung out as much as possible to ensure a dry mix. Then finely chop and add fresh breadcrumbs, pecorino, parsely, garlic, and egg. The balls are rolled out and dredged in dry breadcrumbs, then fried in olive oil to brown.

                                                            These were light and moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, with the pecorino taking the stage as the predominant flavour. They were excellent on their own, but even better when dipped in the simple tomato sauce. I will be making these again for sure, but I'll make a double batch--they didn't last long.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                              Glad to hear these were good. I've been curious about them and now they are on my to-make list.

                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                These polpette sound like something I'd like to try. I'm waiting for my book to arrive but have not had time to cook - or post - since school started. I'm looking forward to hearing more feedback.