Sunday, August 17, 2008

Puttanesca sauce

August ushers in the great tomato extravaganza. Until frost I will be bringing in big bags of assorted varieties and will be caught up in processing sauce to freeze. A couple of years ago I came across an article in the local newspaper for making roasted tomato sauce. This has been my mainstay technique. It is dead easy. But last year, when all the frozen sauce was gone, I purchased a commercial Puttanesca sauce that knocked my socks off. I knew that I must find a way to duplicate it.

With a little wandering around the internet I discovered a nice page on roasted tomato sauce. I also found a recipe for Puttanesca roasted tomatoes. Why not take these recipes and combine them?

I sliced enough tomatoes in chunks to fill a single layer on two rimmed cookie sheets. I then added to each pan:

Half an onion, cut in wedges and spread around
Several cloves of peeled garlic
A large handful each of fresh basil and fresh parsley
One half a small tin of anchovies
6 or 7 Kalamata olives, cut in chunks
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes (I used Allepo)
A generous drizzle of olive oil over it all

Roasting at 400 degrees until the tomatoes collapsed took about 40 minutes. (I would like to try slow roasting at a lower temperature but it is too HOT! to leave the oven on). When cool, I transferred one sheet’s contents to a food processor, threw in a heaping teaspoon of capers, and processed. (I think that putting the capers in with the tomatoes before roasting would be just fine.) The two cookie sheets yielded six cups of very delicious sauce.

High summer chores (albeit pleasurable) yield such treasure in the winter, not to mention reducing monthly food bills (ever increasing). Our household has been trying to do more preserving this year. M. is smoking and canning salmon that he catches. My pepper crop promises to be the best ever for freezing, drying and making hot pepper pastes and powders. We have concord grapes to steam juice if we can beat the raccoons to them.

And now it’s time to make more pesto!