Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pasta Sauce

In my opinion one of the so-called time savers that should be jettisoned from the cupboard is jarred pasta sauce. You can make a delicious sauce in less time than it takes to boil the pasta. Seriously. Last night for dinner I made puttanesca sauce. I put a pot of water on the stove to boil then made the sauce. I warmed a few tablespoons of olive oil in a 12" cast iron pan over a medium heat. I added 4 cloves of garlic which I had sliced, and cooked until it began to turn a light golden brown. Then I added about 4 minced anchovies and 6 chopped oil-cured black olives. I cooked this mixture for about 2 more minutes then added a tablespoon of capers, which I rinsed in cold water for a few seconds. Then a can of tomato puree and about a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
By now the water was boiling in the other pot so I added the pasta. This gave me 8-9 minutes to cook the sauce which was plenty of time. I drained the pasta and sauced it, adding a sprinkle of Parmesan Reggiano and it was great. This really tasted like a restaurant style pasta dish and it took me no more time than I needed to boil pasta. It would be just as fast to make marinara sauce, alfredo sauce or one of several other options.
So, LambertvilleChef readers, what are some of your favorite weeknight pasta dishes to make at home?


Greg said...

Great post, Chris. I keep trying to make marinara sauce, but it's never as good as mom used to make. If you have any tips on that kind of sauce, I'd love to hear them.

Sean McLeod said...

Do you find that cooking tomato sauce in your cast iron skillet imparts a metallic taste to your sauce? I always use stainless steel or enamel lined cast iron to cook anything tomato based as I've read that the acid can cause iron to leech into the sauce. Your thoughts?

Chris Connors said...


Thanks for your comment. I probably wouldn't cook tomatoes in a cast iron pan the day I brought it home from the store. But a well seasoned cast iron pan can handle just about anything! Think dutch ovens full of chili over a campfire.


Daniel said...

Chris, as soon as I finish making your split pea soup recipe, I'll try the puttanesca sauce. I'm sure it's delicious. Keep them coming.

John said...

Chris: I have to try that Puttanesca sauce. Here's my recipe: I brown hot Italian sausages in oil, then I remove the sausages and cook onions in the same oil, then add garlic and pour a little red wine into the pan and scrape off the browned bits. Then I add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes, slicing the sausages and adding them to the sauce to finish cooking them.