Friday, October 15, 2010

Tomato onion sauce

The Italian name for this sauce is Pomodora Cipolla and it is a very delicate, light sauce; a perfect topping for capellini or linguine fine (the really thin pastas).  The basic recipe is only 3 ingredients, yet there are a few variations.  I tried a very simple version last winter, and while it was delicious, I felt enormously guilty making a tomato sauce without garlic or basil - the two staples of my very Italian mother-in-law's well-loved sauce.  After making a couple of minor additions to the basic recipe (I'll bet you can figure out without too much difficulty what I added...), I ended up with a sauce that was almost as easy as the original and, for me, a tad better.

Pomodoro Cipolla
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side

1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, undrained.  Preferably San Marzano tomatoes.
   Note: San Marzano is a type of plum tomato that is usually recommended when making sauce.  
   Some are imported, some grown domestically, but most grocery stores stock at least one brand.
1 medium onion, halved and peeled
5 TBS. butter
1 medium or 2 small cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 small handful of minced basil (optional)   
This is a very delicate sauce, so I didn't want to overwhelm it, just add a touch of extra flavor.

1.  If using the garlic, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium heat.  Once butter is sizzling, add the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, being careful to not burn (or brown) either the butter or the garlic.
2.  Add all the other ingredients. (If not using the garlic or basil, just put the first three ingredients in the pot.)

3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep sauce at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes, breaking up tomatoes as they soften.
4.  Using tongs, remove onion pieces and discard.  This step is also optional.  I once tried chopping the cooked onions and returning them to the pot, but I thought the onions overpowered the sauce.

5.  Pour over hot pasta, toss and serve.  

You're probably thinking: That's not capelli or linguine fine!  And you'd be correct.  That's spaghetti and all I had in the house.  I really think this sauce is made for a finer pasta and I enjoyed it one teeny, tiny bit less for not having it.

Freshly grated parmesan or romano?  Also optional.

Now, as my father-in-law used to say:  Mangiare!  Buon appetito!!


No comments:

Post a Comment