Stonehouse Tomato Sauce & Pasta
There are 3 keys to making perfect tomato sauce: 1) slow fry tomatoes in olive oil with no juice-- this step is essential for a luscious sauce, a tip from Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse; 2) Cook pasta half way in salted water, then finish in the sauce, a tip from Craig Stoll (Delfina); 3) use Stonehouse Olive Oil, of course! Tomato sauce is essentially ½ tomato, ½ olive oil, so quality ingredients are key. Adapted from Cal Peternell’s, Twelve Recipes.
- Sea salt
- 4 tbsp Stonehouse House Blend or Olio Santo EVOO
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, juice reserved
- Chopped parsley or basil
- 2-3 tbsp Napa Valley Blend, North Beach Blend or Aglio Olio
- 1lb rigatoni, fettuccini or other favorite pasta
- Basil oil, for finishing
Put a large pot of cold, salted water on to boil. Lift tomatoes from can with a fork, tear open, let the juice run back into can and place tomatoes in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet on medium-low; an iron pan is best. when the skillet is hot, add the oil; when the oil is hot, 30-45 seconds, add the onion and a sprinkle of salt. Cook the onion until soft and lightly browned.
Add garlic and 2 tbsp Napa Valley Blend, cook 1 minute, then add tomatoes. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring frequently. As sauce gets to look (and sound) dry and sizzly, add doses of the reserved tomato juice. Repeat this step for 10-15 minutes.
While sauce simmers, put pasta in boiling water and cook ½ way, then drain, saving 1 cup of pasta water, and add pasta to the sauce. Taste, and make adjustments. More salt? More oil? More spices? The pasta will absorb water as it cooks so replenish liquid, using tomato juice 1st, then saved pasta water. Finish the pasta in the sauce, making final adjustments. If you haven’t needed the pasta water, add a splash now, it gives the sauce a nice sheen. Parsley? Basil?
Photo credit: Erin Scott