Saturday, November 27, 2010

Penne Rigate e Melanzane al Salsa di Pomodoro

This is a nice Italian red sauce pasta entree!
     The eggplant gives this pasta very light satisfying flavor.  Pasta e Melanzane al Salsa di Pomodoro was a lunch menu item at a few Italian restaraunts that I worked in.
     Lunch menu items must be able to be cooked quickly, if the restaurant has a large business lunch clientele.  This eggplant and pasta recipe cooks quickly.  The salsa di pomodoro is another story.  Salsa di pomodoro takes four hours to cook.  It is better to make a large batch of tomato sauce than a small one and just plan on having a few Italian meals through a week.
     Never freeze a tomato sauce!  Freezing causes to tomatoes to release the olive oil that was painstakingly combined with them.  Just make a batch of tomato sauce that can be consumed within seven days, rather than trying to make a ton of tomato sauce and then freezing the excess sauce for later.  
     Salsa Pomodoro Recipe: 
     This recipe makes several portions of salsa di pomodoro.  This salsa di pomodoro is a mother sauce for several Italian recipes.
     Heat a pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 cup of olive oil.
     Add 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
     Add 1 handful of finely minced onion.
     Add 2 pinches of crushed dried red pepper.
     When the onions turn clear in color, add a 28 ounce can of imported Italian crushed plum tomatoes.
     Place a 28 ounce can of imported Italian whole plum tomatoes that are packed in their own juices into a mixing bowl.
     Hand squeeze and crush the tomatoes, till no big chunks remain.
     Add the hand crushed tomatoes and their juises to the sauce pot.
     Add 4 pinches of oregano.
     Add sea salt and ground black pepper.
     Add 1 small bunch of chopped fresh basil.
     Add 1 cup of Italian dry red wine.
     Stir the olive oil into the sauce.
     Heat the sauce, till it starts to bubble.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.  (Never cover a pot of an Italian tomato sauce!  The sauce will turn out watery and "flat" instead of a glistening red color.)
     Slowly simmer the sauce for 4 hours. 
     Stir the sauce once every 5-7 minutes, during the entire cooking time.  Stir from the bottom up!
     The sauce should be simmering very gently, so that there is very little bubbling on the surface.
     Scrape the cooked on sauce off of the inside wall of the pot back into the sauce occasionally.
     After 4 hours, the flavors will meld together and the tomato sauce will have a true rich body.  The excess tomato juices will be reduced by this time.  The olive oil will be well combined with the tomatoes, because of the regular stirring.
     Set the sauce aside or keep it warm for immediate use.  The excess amount of sauce can be refrigerated and used for another recipe. 
     Penne e Melanzane al Salsa di Pomodoro Recipe:
     Cook 1 portion of penne rigate pasta in boiling water over high heat.
     Boil the pasta, till it becomes al dente.
     The eggplant and tomato sauce can be prepared while the pasta is cooking!
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 splash of olive oil.
     Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Saute the garlic, till it turns a golden color.
     Add 1 large handful of thin sliced, bite size pieces of peeled eggplant.
     Season with sea salt and pepper.
     Saute the eggplant pieces, till they become tender and till they become a golden color.
     Add about 1 1/2 cups of the salsa pomodoro.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the eggplant and sauce, till the pasta finishes cooking.
     When the pasta becomes cooked al dente, drain the watter off of the pasta.
     Add the al dente cooked penne pasta to the sauce in the pan.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Mound the pasta on the center of a plate.
     Sprinkle a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.
     This is a simple, delicious, healthy pasta!  The wine in the background is 2004 Cabezac French Domaine vin de pays val du cesse zinfandel merlot.  I highly regard the goals that have been set by the new owners of the Cabezac estate.  Cabezac wines are worth looking into!   This is a great red wine that goes well with this pasta.  Italian chefs like French wine too!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna

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