So, I have the most amazing fresh ravioli in the freezer… so I want that for dinner tonight (quinoa to be done another night!) … but I can’t have pasta with out sauce…and since I’ve started making my own, I just don’t do jarred. Not that there aren’t some great jarred sauces out there – there are… but I love the flavors I can create with a tomato sauce! I’ve done so many variations, from a straight tomato sauce to a mushroom based tomato sauce to a meat filled sauce (that Dave calls “gravy”*) - you (ok, so maybe not all of 'you'... but at least "i" can!) can do just about anything to a tomato sauce and it will come out tasting fabulous!
· Let me clarify the “gravy/sauce” issue right now…Gravy is brown and usually goes on meatloaf or turkey…Sauce is red – made from tomatoes – and regardless of what is in it…if it’s RED – its SAUCE…. If it’s BROWN – it’s GRAVY. Enough said…done…won’t argue the issue any more…in the emily-verse (which is where I live, and as far as I’m concerned, anyone in my life is in MY world!), this is how it’s done.
So let me introduce you to my
Drunkin’ Onion Sauce
One medium to large onion, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of either crushed tomatoes or plum tomatoes
1 ½ heaping tablespoons of pesto (I love Classico, if you don’t make your own!)
1 small (see pic) bottle of red wine (Cabernet is preferable)
Red Pepper Flakes
Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice thinly the onion and mince up the garlic…
Heat a pan on medium/low with Olive oil and a bit of butter and a pinch of red pepper flakes…
once the butter is melting and the red pepper starts to sizzle…add the garlic.
Stir for about 2 minutes… your nose will tell you (when you smell the garlic cooking) and when it is, that’s when it’s time to add the onion and some salt and pepper (to taste)…
Stir, you may need a touch more butter, but then let the onions go...stirring occasionally – you want to caramelize those onions… this takes about 20 minutes. You’re not looking for a deep color (like for French Onion Soup)…but for a slight color and really wilted, sweetened onions.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got plum tomatoes, empty them in a bowl and get your hands in there and crush them up… dig in with your hands, folks…that’s the ONLY way to do this! Break them down to the bits and pieces!!
Once the onions have that slightly caramelized color, deglaze the pan with the Cabernet.
Stir occasionally but with in 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and the pesto.
Let it simmer on low for easily 20-30 minutes. You want the sauce to thicken, take on flavor and be an amazing accompaniment to the ravioli that I am cooking… After about 30 minutes, look at the sauce and see how thick it is...if you like it thicker – you can add a bit of tomato paste… but given about 30 minutes, it’s a good consistency for me… I’ll put the sauce on low to keep warm and cook my pasta.
I put my ravioli (which is fresh* see below), that’s been in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, and then I put it right in the tomato sauce.
You want the pasta to soak up that flavor… and you’ll leave it there for … eh, maybe 4 or 5 more minutes.
· While that’s cooking, lets talk about pasta…I get my ravioli from Bambinos… they are at my local farmers market, but also have a store front in Bay Shore, NY. They have an enormous amount of stuffed pasta, regular pasta, mozzarella (smoked too) and burrata <I’ll have a whole post dedicated to burrata soon!>… I’m telling you…You need to go here (or find where they are at farmers markets) to get their product. Not only do I, but my SBC (sister by choice, and also my sister in law!) also buys their products and they are amazing!! Made fresh, and easily frozen to keep and have when ever you need it!
Ok… So, now once the ravioli has been simmering in the sauce… about 5 or so minutes… (I mean, hey… 6 or 8 minutes is OK…this isn’t an exact science here)…Then take out your pasta… put a bit of sauce on it… some Parmesan or Pecorino… and boom!
You have an amazing dinner… a fantastic sauce that you can use for other pasta nights, pizza or even freeze it for other meals!
Now my friends… this isn’t my “sauce” recipe. That will take so much more than this… as it will be a whole post on “Sunday dinner” … but this is a … a not so quick- but tasty and delicious remedy to a sauce that isn’t jarred for your dinner one night.
The sauce has a depth of flavor, with the garlic notes touching every bite you take…the onions are still substantial so the sauce has texture, but add such an amazing sweetness to the sauce. Just before serving, I added two handfuls of the Pecorino to the sauce and it adds just the right amount of salty flavor to the dish.
Now, the ravioli I used was the “Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella” ravioli… it is perfect with this sauce!! We don’t add any fresh herbs to this sauce, so the basil flavor is allowed to showcase its self as you bite into the ravioli and sauce combo. The pasta is cooked tender enough to have that slight bite… but the flavor of the filling is highlighted… You can totally taste the tomato, mozzarella and basil in this dish.
I’ll take a side step and say, I’ve had their butternut squash, pumpkin and the smoked mozzarella ravioli and … please… they are amazing. Go to Bambino’s … or find a farmers market where they are. You’ll not be disappointed!!
Until Next Time…