‘’A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins’’-- Laurie Colwin
Red fresh exquisite tomatoes in ‘la pasta’ sauce always bring happy thoughts.There is nothing more comforting than making my own tomato pasta sauce.
I love the smell of cooked tomatoes as I make tuco-- ''Tuco'' is a classic tomato sauce that complements all of our pasta dishes from where I come from.
Fragrant and juicy.
It’s a tradition in my family that almost feels like a ritual. We have never served our pasta dishes with tomato sauce out of the can… ever!
Simply because pasta doesn’t taste the same for us.
I know I may sound silly to praise something as simple as pasta sauce, but believe me ‘la pasta’ deserves to be eaten with a fresh well prepared -flavorful sauce. In our home every pasta and polenta dish is served with this tuco sauce.
But at other times we prefer to eat our pasta with béchamel sauce or just drizzle with some olive oil and serve it with chopped garlic, heirloom tomatoes and lots of parmesan cheese.
The tuco has an intense flavor and it is quite juicy and easy to prepare. It makes the pasta or polenta completely soaked in the sauce— which makes the presence of warm crunchy French bread slices; ''unavoidable''... ...
To later - and without any sense of guilt – start dipping pieces of bread into the juicy pasta sauce that is left at the plate.
Well, that’s exactly what we did on Friday. I prepared the tuco using some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and button mushrooms that I picked days before-- with a couple of bay leaves from my tree out front. Our house smelled absolutely wonderful.
The taste of fresh tomatoes in the sauce was heavenly. And this immediately reminds me to my father in law little orchard and his home-grow tomatoes. I made the best tomato salads and pasta sauces with those homegrown tomatoes--
...these sweet memories brought a warm feeling and a strong desire to grow my own tomatoes.
Perhaps…We'll see what the new season brings.
I told J. about it while eating our dinner. Little macaroni served with tuco and fresh oregano leaves. And for dessert …caramel flan with a dollop of dulce de leche and an old classic film –Remember this?
Fortunately we had a quiet and relaxing weekend after several days of being busy.
Saturday morning I made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast with caramelize fruits (this time I sautéed some leftover apples and pears) with a bit of butter and soft brown sugar– Delicious.
The morning went by so quickly that soon was time for lunch. I remembered the large bag of cauliflowers and some broccoli I had in the fridge.
It was cold and it was the perfect time of the day for a roasted salad. I put the green and the white flowers on a baking tray, some olive oil, sea salt, pepper, feta cheese and black olives. I’ve roasted everything for about ten minutes. And lunch was ready to eat.
After our comforting lunch we were all set for our usual afternoon long walk.
Next morning, I woke up and all of the sudden I had an enormous urge to start baking. Yes, I made alfajores- Cornstarch sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche. I baked a batch of them and before they start to disappear... I took some alfajores to my good neighbor and she was just as excited — I was happy to see how much she liked them.
At home the alfajores came and went in the blink of an eye.
I knew this would happen, I told J. Let blame the cold whether for it ! He replied :)
I wish everybody a wonderful week ahead!
El Tuco-Pasta Sauce Recipe
250 g Whole tomatoes in juice
250 g Fresh tomatoes
1 medium carrot
3 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 C. oil
1 C. beef stock / broth
3 Tbsp. brown sugar- to remove acidity from the tomato sauce.
3 Bay leaves
2 tsp. Paprika
Salt to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste (optional)
** If you like meat in your your pasta sauce--see below
In a saucepan add oil, garlic and onions. Fry over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until onions start to look soft and glossy. In the meantime blend whole tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and carrot. Add this mixture to the fried onions.
Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, paprika, sugar, bay leaves and stock and cook for 20 25 minutes --until liquid is absorbed. Serve over any pasta ( fettuccine, cannelloni, ravioli) or polenta dish with lots of parmesan cheese :) Remember that this particular pasta sauce has a more liquid texture- It needs to be juicy.
** You ca also add ground beef, chicken or turkey. Seafood, chicken thighs or wings to this sauce--just pre-cook any meat of your choice and add directly with the tomato paste and stock.