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Hey Come Over Here Kid, Learn Something… August 22, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.

… you never know, you might have to cook for twenty guys someday.


Let’s start with the Basic Tomato Sauce which goes like this:

1. A cup of finely chopped carrot & a cup of chopped onion go into about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pot. Hit it with a pinch of salt to sweat it, and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent, then
2. Add 1/4 cup of chopped garlic and mix until the garlic becomes fragrant – do NOT overcook the garlic! – then
3. Add one 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes with basil, either crushed beforehand, or you can crush them in the pot with a potato masher like I do – give it all a good stir and then add
4. A cup of a good wine, red or white, it doesn’t matter to me, just use a wine worth drinking – and then
5. Bring this all to a good rolling boil. Put a lid on the pot, leave it slightly cracked, and turn the heat to low to let the sauce simmer for a half an hour.
6. After a half an hour, use a stick blender to blend the mixture to a good consistency (or you could use a food processor and return it to the pot). Add 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon of pepper or to taste, and 1/4 cup of chopped basil (fresh or dried). Taste to adjust seasoning, but you’re basically done.

These amounts make about 4 servings of sauce.

Don’t put too many onions in the sauce. Paulie doesn’t like too many onions in the sauce.

Cut to Clemenza: “Aww, Paulie. Won’t see him no more.”

Hmmm… those were different Paulies, but as we learned from Karen Hill’s voiceover in Goodfellas, EVERYONE is either named Pete or Paulie.

Goodfellas… The Godfather…. My mafia universes can endlessly overlap, since it’s all about the food, anyway.

All the Petes (including Saint Pete who can see your house from here) & Paulies who are health conscious love Turkey Meatballs to go with that sauce over some pasta, so here goes:

For every 1/2 pound of ground turkey, which will make 4 golf-ball sized meatballs for a serving to one person, add the following to each:

1. A minced garlic clove, about a teaspoonful
2. A tablespoon of dried oregano
3. 2 tablespoons of dried basil
4. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
5. 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs that have absorbed 1/4 cup of white wine (You can use red, I like white better with turkey. Use red when making the meatballs with ground beef)
6. Salt & pepper

Mix this all in a bowl until well blended and a bit pasty. Form into meatballs, and either brown on all sides in olive oil, or place in a glass dish, cover with a paper towel & microwave on high for 3 – 3 1/2 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the glass dish or the olive oil and let simmer in the tomato sauce for about 15 minutes, nearly the time it’ll take to boil the water & make the pasta. I made this tonight with some penne and had plenty of Pinot Grigio left over to drink with my meal.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had store-bought sauce from a jar in nearly fifteen years of making this stuff. You can experiment with the flavor of the sauce by trying different wines, even different onions like Vidalias, or adding finely chopped celery to the mix. It’s all good.

And that’s my trick. So leave the gun. Take the cannoli.



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