Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blink-and-you'll-be-done Tomato Sauce

Every homecook needs a quick and dirty (well maybe not dirty) tomato sauce recipe in his or her repertoire that they can fall back on to toss on fresh farmers market ravioli or homemade pizza crust.  And let's be honest, the quicker the better.  We've got Biggest Loser to watch, people!  This recipe is the fastest tomato sauce recipe I've come across that not only tastes good; it tastes great.  I've toned down the spice and zing (from lemon zest) in the original recipe, but if you are a big lemon person or pepper person, feel free to double the amounts.  According to Heidi, the type of canned tomatoes you use makes all the difference.  When there's only six ingredients, you really should make sure you're using some good ones, or else it might not taste much better than stuff out of the jar.

We used this sauce on ravioli and homemade pizza, and it worked great for both.  Even better, we have half the sauce still in the freezer.  The recipe makes enough for what I consider 4 servings for two people (so two pasta nights and two pizzas).  Now your five-minute sauce got even faster since it's lasting you four nights.

Enough about how quick, easy, and convenient it is - onto what really matters, the taste.  This sauce has an amazing depth of flavor that makes it seem as if it was simmering on your stove all afternoon.  The olive oil adds smoothness and richness to the sauce, while the red pepper flakes and lemon zest create a wham-bam effect to take the sauce to another level.  One try and I guarantee this will replace any other quick sauce recipes you use or even the jarred stuff you have laying around.

Here are our six ingredients - kosher salt, 28 oz. can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (these won't be found out Safeway, folks, but they sell it at Whole Foods and other gourmet markets), crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic.

Our Whole Foods sometimes runs out of the crushed San Marzanos, so I tend to stock up when I see them.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 3 cloves chopped garlic to a cold saucepan.  Turn on heat to medium high and heat until you can smell the garlic.  This took me about 2 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic - that stuff is testy.

Stir in one 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Don't worry that the olive oil seems reluctant to combine with the tomatoes.  It will submit.

Remove from heat, and test for salt.  Then stir in the zest of half of a lemon.  As we all learned from the Pioneer Woman, zesting is even easier if you keep the lemon on the cutting board and run the zester on top so that the zest collects easily on the back-side.

Toss this sauce on top of some delicious, pillowy roasted asparagus ravioli that you picked up at the Mountain View farmers market (oh wait, is that just us?).  Or you can use this sauce on any kind of boxed pasta, homemade noodles, or pizza.  It works great on everything because it is delicious, but not too full of flavors that it would overwhelm anything.  

Blink-and-you'll-be-done Tomato Sauce
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Makes roughly 1 quart sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28-oz. can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1/2 lemon, zested

Add olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic to a cold saucepan.  Turn heat to medium-high and heat for 1-2 minutes, until you just begin to smell the garlic.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and taste to see if you need to add more salt.  Stir in zest of 1/2 lemon and enjoy over any pasta or pizza.  

1 comment:

  1. ooh maybe i'll try out this sauce next week atop spaghetti squash :)


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