Tag Archives: sauce

Everything Must Go! How to make a mad-mixed pasta sauce to eat now/freeze for later)

22 Aug

We are drowning in abundance. It happens every August if you garden or belong to a CSA; there are so many tomatoes, so many peppers, so much zucchini….it all gets lost in the fridge faster than you can cook it!

So, with pick-up coming the next day and a fridge full of last week’s haul getting ugly, I took as much as I could and cooked it down into sauce – some for now and some for the freezer, in small containers that will make a fast meal when school starts and dinner needs to be now and lunch needs to be ready the night before. I have freezer-packing panic!

Blanche! (Tennessee Williams moment)

Here is an Everything Must Get Used Before Our Next Pick-Up tomato sauce recipe. I used SunGolds, cherries, paste tomatoes, slicers, heirlooms, anything that had been sitting all week getting sad.

How-to for blanching tomatoes follows the recipe….

Everything Must Go Pasta Sauce

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Cup onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

(Optional bits and bobs: half a zucchini, a bit of eggplant – bung in anything that will cook down soft and not mess up the overall color too much — chopped small).

6 lbs tomatoes (paste tomatoes preferred, but I used an incredible mix), cored, blanched and peeled*

1 Tbs dried oregano and thyme (2 Tbs if using fresh)

¼ Cup red wine

½ tsp salt (or to taste)

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot at medium high until liquid and fragrant. Lower heat to medium and add the following vegetables one at a time, stirring to coat before adding the next: onions, garlic, peppers, carrots, celery. Cook at medium (or lower if you have time) until vegetables are soft and translucent, at least five minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add herbs and wine and lower to a lively simmer. Cook down for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The more you cook it, the smoother it will get, but also the more dense. Add water 1/4 Cup at a time as desired.

(Optional step: Using an immersion blender, liquefy the sauce to desired smoothness)

Correct seasoning and serve over pasta/freeze for later! Will keep three months in the freezer.

To blanch, keep reading!

A pile of peels

*To blanch and peel tomatoes: Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes (take out the stem and white core with a paring knife) and prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the water boils, drop tomatoes in. In two minutes (or less) you will see the skin begin to peel back or split. Remove each tomato as this happens and drop in ice water. When tomatoes have cooled,  take them out of the ice water and peel (the skin should come off easily). They are then ready to cook down, or freeze in freezer bags for later use (later can be as long as next spring! and you don’t have to peel them if you are freezing for later use).


Pasta With Roasted Vegetables (Potluck Portion!)

21 May

We always do an end-of-semester party with our students in our language immersion program; after all, when you spend 20 hours a week for 15 weeks with the same class, you get to know each other pretty well, so it’s nice to have an informal day with them.

When you don’t have proper travel packs for food – improvise! Saved rubber band show their worth here.

Usually, we do a massive celebration with all our classes together, but this semester it just wasn’t coming together, so each lecturer did an individual class party.

And sometimes you DO have the right gear: Pampered Chef Measuring Cup with LID

So I passed around a sign-up sheet so we’d know who was bringing what, including paper goods and soft drinks and the like. And my students, who claim to love food and hail from most corners of the earth (Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, SouthEast Asia, and Russia, wrote cookies, snack, cookies, snack…like, what!?! I was NOT going to have a Dunkin’ Munchkin affair.

Mixed up and ready to go…

So I panicked and made a dish myself (which we lecturers don’t often do, since our students are usually so generous with the home-cooked dishes). Pasta seemed the right solution and I was able to carry the sauce separate from the pasta and reheat it in the office microwave…Although we have no vegetarians, roasted vegetables seemed the right way to go.

I needn’t have worried. My wonderful class brought chicken adobo (Philipines), roast chicken (Korea), empanadas (Colombia), warmed greens salad (Haiti), and pasta (U.S. style!). Plus a gigantic and delicious lemon cream cake! So it was a lovely spread and a nice way to close the semester before their big test

The International Buffet

The Thank You Cake

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Two pounds short, curly pasta – shells, farfalle, penne, or cavatappi


4-5 Cups mixed chopped vegetables (zucchini/red pepper/yellow squash/cauliflower/broccoli/asparagus)

4 cloves garlic, minced

Small onion, peeled and minced

1-2 Tbs olive oil


2 Tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz button mushrooms (white or baby bella), woody parts of stems removed before chopping

Hot red pepper flakes – a pinch or two, optional

Two 28 oz. cans diced or pureed tomatoes

Salt to taste

1 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other grating cheese


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread vegetables, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking dish, drizzle with oil and roast for 1 hour.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, heat oil for sauce in a large pot until liquid and fragrant. Add onions sauté for a minute, then add garlic. Saute for an additional minute, then add mushrooms. Cook at medium heat until mushrooms release their liquid (about five minutes), stirring occasionally. Add pepper flakes, if desired, and add canned tomatoes. Cook at a slow simmer until vegetables are finished roasting. Add vegetables and stir to combine. Add pasta and cheese, mix well and serve.

%d bloggers like this: