You say Tomaytom I say Tomahto, I want Pomodoro.

Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 09:44 am
I think a food mill holds back more skin and seeds.
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Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 09:49 am
djjd62 wrote:

but for some reason he really likes to push stuff through sieves

Tomato seeds are bitter. The best homemade sauce recipes, I think, are those that have instructions to remove them.
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Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 01:01 pm
You guys are really great I knew you'd have some amazing things for me to try. It looks like a great conversation going on, I've been freezing, in the filling bags for the freezer sense rather than the shivering in my shoes sense. My sauce made 11 servings for me plus about 6 for my mum. It's the take one onion thing, I just can't do it.

I had forgotten about the roasted tomato approach for some reason, my excuse shall be the anaesthetic remains, where the truth is probably that I only think of roasting tom's when it's the summer, our imported tomatoes don't taste of anything, so roasting them doesn't really help. I'll have a go at these 'receipts' you've sent me, and I'm sure they'll be lovely.

Farmer, if you read about the ice-cream fiasco you'll know that I should be kept as far away from razors as humanly (or should that be humanely) possible, I can't afford to lose any fingers.

And on the subject of Ice-cream, I just got round to trying the Amaretto batch. I ripened it by accident. put it in the fridge and forgot about it for about half an hour, which turns out to be just right, (see some of my accident's are happy ones). It was gorgeous, rich, creamy even velvet-y, really lush, just didn't really taste almondy, there was the barest hint but I reckon if you didn't know it was there you'd never guess the flavour. Next time I shall be bold with the booze. I tried to message all of you who were kind enough to get involved in my dilemma but the message facility has been suspended?

Back to my Pasta alla Pomodoro. Delia in her seminal Summer Collection has a recipe for ragu which is cooked long and slow, it's very, very rich but good. I'll post it in detail for you tomorrow.

Keep cookin.

Sms xx
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Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 01:15 pm
The private message service is going to be fixed, but it's complicated in that it needs to be reworked to prevent spam. Presently newbies can't use it until the spam fix happens.
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 02:10 pm
Thanks Osso, I wasn't doing something wrong then.
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Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2011 03:28 pm
Babbo's Bucatini all'Amatriciana recipe, which includes basic tomato sauce -
(one of Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich's places)

Serves 4
¾ pound guanciale, or pancetta, thinly sliced (this is bacon from pork jowls or cheeks)
3 garlic cloves
1 red onion, halved and sliced ½-inch thick
1 ½ teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups basic tomato sauce
1 pound bucatini
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
Pecorino Romano, for grating

1. Being 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.

2. Place the guanciale slices in a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan in a single layer and cook over medium-low heat until most of the fat has been rendered from the meat, turning occasionally. Remove the meat to a plate lined with paper towels and discard half the fat, leaving enough to coat the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Return the guanciale to the pan with the vegetables, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the onions, garlic and guanciale are light golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, add the tomato sauce, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Cook the bucatini in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Add the parsley leaves, increase the heat to high and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among four warmed pasta bowls. Top with freshly grated Pecorino cheese and serve immediately.

Makes 4 cups
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

A recipe from an old book of mine - when I first started following italian regional food, this was the book, Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni. (I had an earlier book by her, but it's long gone.)

I won't copy the whole bit, but the ingredients -
Spaghetti all'amatriciana

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
2 1/2 tablespoons lard or oil
1 onion thinly sliced
5 ounces lean bacon diced
1/2 cup dry white wine - optional
1 pound ripe or canned tomatoes
salt and pepper
3/4 cup grated pecorino

Well, I'll add the sentences about the sauce -
Heat the lard and saute the onion over very low heat until soft. Add the bacon and fry it slowly for a few minutes. Moisten with white wine and continue cooking until it evaporates a little. Peel, chop and seed the tomatoes, and add them to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook over a brisk heat for not more than fifteen minutes.

There, that's easy..
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Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 07:00 am
Alla Amatriciana is my all time favourite pasta, I think, but in a good restaurant I find it hard to get pasta Veal Marsala, it just calls to me.

Anyway as I promised Delia Smith's Authentic Ragu Bolognese which was in the Winter Collection, the big pasta dish in the Summer Collection was Roasted Vegetable Lasagne (gorgeous) and one of her most successful recipes of all time Chicken Basque.

She writes: In Britain it's really sad that so often stewed mince with the addition of herbs and tomato puree gets presented as bolognese sauce - even dare I say it, in lesser Italian restaurants. Yet properly made, an authentic ragu bolognese bears absolutely no resemblance to this travesty. The real thing is a very slowly cooked, thick concentrated, dark mahogany coloured sauce, and because of this, very little is needed to coat pasta and give it that unmistakably authentic and evocative flavour of Italy. For me, making ragu is something of a ritual; it's not that difficult, but if you give a little of your time to make it in bulk, then freeze down for the future, you'll always have the basis of a delightful meal ready-prepared when there's no time to cook.


1 lb Lean Minced Beef (450g)
1 lb Minced Pork (450g)
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8oz Chicken Livers (225g)
2 Medium Onions, finely chopped
4 Fat Cloves of Garlic, chopped
5 oz Pancetta, finely chopped (2 x 70g packs) or use streaky bacon
28 oz Italian Chopped Tomatoes (400g)
14 oz Double Concentrate Tomato Puree (200g)
14 Fl oz (half a bottle) Red Wine (400ml)
1 oz Fresh Basil (30g)
1/2 Whole Nutmeg, grated
Salt & Freshly Milled Black Pepper.

You will also need a large flameproof casserole of at least 6 pint (3.5.litre) capacity.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275F, 140C


1) Take a large frying pan, the largest you have, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time. While the onion is softening, chop the pancetta as finely as you can. After 10 minutes add this to the pan with the onion & garlic and continue to fry for another 5 minutes then transfer this mix to the casserole.

2) Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, turn the heat up to the highest and brown the beef, breaking it up and moving it around the pan, when it is browned tip it into the casserole. Heat another tablespoon of oil and do exactly the same to the minced pork.

3) While the pork is browning, trim the chicken livers, rinse them under cold running water, dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper and then chop them minutely small. When the pork is browned, transfer that to the casserole, then heat the last tablespoon of oil and brown the pieces of chicken liver. Add these to the casserole.

4) Place the casserole on the heat (you've finished with the frying pan), give everything a good stir together, then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine and a really good seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow this to come up to simmering point then add half of the basil leaves, chopped very finely. As soon as everything is simmering, place the casserole on the middle shelf of the oven and leave it to cook slowly, without a lid for 4 hours.

5) It's a good idea to check it after 3 hours to make sure all is well, but what you should end up with is a thick, concentrated sauce with only a trace of liquid left in it, then remove it from the oven, taste to check for seasoning, strip the remaining basil leaves, chop them finely and add them to the ragu.

6) When the sauce is absolutely cold, divide it using weighing scales by spooning 8 oz (225g) into a freezer bag, seal leaving a little room for expansion. Each serving will be enough for 8 oz of pasta, which will serve two people.

Now the freezing directions are obviously your own choice, this might not be enough for your appetite, but this is what she said in the recipe so I include it for you to ignore at your own discretion.

I've made this once, it was a very, very strong sauce and I think the chicken livers have a real bearing on the taste, I couldn't bear to touch raw ones, so I cooled them then chopped them, don't know if that affected the flavour.

Hope you enjoy.

S xx
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 08:19 am
I cooKed not cooled the livers, sorry for the typo
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 10:27 am
Sounds very good and thanks for posting the recipe! I'm thinking 'minced' would be 'ground' beef and pork over here. Also, does it say 'Double Concentrate Tomato Puree' on the can? I haven't noticed any brands here that refer to double concentrate, but then I wasn't really looking. Our Whole Foods had an organic tomato paste that came in a jar that I really liked, but they discontinued it. It wasn't double concentrate, though.

I'm also wondering if fresh tomatoes could be substituted. Ew chicken livers lol (might have to omit those).
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 10:35 am
Different from Hazan's, which is all about the taste and texture of the meat itself (they'd probably argue over it) and more flavorful than hers, it sounds, but the same re slow cooking.
I should try it..

I like just about anything (veal, chicken, shrimp) with marsala sauce, but I haven't had it in a restaurant in a million years.
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 04:25 pm
Time to order my tomatos seeds for this years garden. Ive got it down to a few candidate strains
1. Underwoods Pink German Giant
2. Supersweet VF 100
3. Marmara
4. Pantano Romanesco
5. Brandywine (Sudduth strain)

These are indeterminate types with open pollenatingg so I can safely save seed.
LAst year I grew only determinates and wound up with this huuge crop that came in all at once. We were at the beach and almost missed it.
Reply Mon 17 Jan, 2011 01:41 pm
Where are you ordering your seeds from this year, Farmer?

Any catalog recommendations with better selections and products than Park or Burpee?

How soon before the last frost date do you start your tomato seeds? I'm thinking about starting them about 6 to 7 weeks before that date here.
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Reply Fri 21 Jan, 2011 08:19 am
I'm sorry Irish, I should have thought about the language thing. Our Mince is your Ground, as for the double concentrate Tomato Puree (Paste), I think that disctinction might be obsolete now. This book was published in the early 90's (scary, scary thought) and maybe you could get a weaker or stronger puree then. Nowadays, in this country at least, all Tomato Puree says Double Concentrate on the packaging, most usually tubes although I've seen it in jars. I'd go with whatever you usually buy, or if like Osso you don't like the taste you could always leave it out, I'm not sure what effect that would have on the richness of the ragu though.
Reply Fri 21 Jan, 2011 09:05 am
Those tubes of tomato paste are convenient when only a tablespoon or so is called for! I liked the jar since I could easily refrigerate any unused paste and sometimes the canned versions have a slight metallic taste (IMO).
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Reply Sun 6 Feb, 2011 08:40 am
Just a quick F.Y.I. all. After putting in this recipe for you I decided to have another go, it's a long while since I first made it myself when I stuck religiously to the recipe. I always do that the first time I make something to see what the chef says it should taste like. This time I used slightly less chicken liver, the ones I bought from the supermarket were full of sinew and a bit ragged, I also soaked them in milk overnight to extract some of the bitterness, by the time I'd got rid of the yukky bits I reckon I had about 4oz and it made a big difference to the taste. I also put 3 tins of tomatoes in this time as I thought it seemed drier than the last time. Have ended up with a huge amount of Ragu. Still very rich but much redder in colour (first time it was a deep dark brown) and very tomato-y as you'd expect but I think I prefer it to the first lot I made. It's a long job to make but it's batch cooking at its best I think, you just cannot get the deep flavour of this ragu in a quick 20 minute pasta sauce and I have enough in the freezer now for at least 12 servings.

When it comes to the paste, if you have large Jars over there it might be easier for you than squeezing out two tubes, it's not so difficult a tbsp at a time but its a real slog all in one go!

S x
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