[Editor’s Note: Ironically, I was writing this when Eric called his mom to interview her about her handed-down Sugo (The Whole Recipe – Sugo). These sauces are different, but not so much; and both are worth cooking and worth eating… maybe the best two sauces you’ve made.]
I have a “Go To” sauce for spaghetti, been cooking it for years. I got it from Nancy Harmon Jenkins book, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. (That’s “diet” as in “cusine, the diet of the Mediterranean culture,” not “diet: to lose weight.”)
MITA’S TUSCAN SUGO
“Mita Antolini, my Tuscan neighbor, uses this sauce to dress pasta or gnocchi di patate, little potato dumplings, that she makes for Sunday lunch.” [See full recipe at the end.]
— Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Uncharacteristically, I never transcribed this recipe into my computer files. After I made it a few times from the book, I knew it and just cooked it. Anyway, this is how I cooked it last Friday — I call it “go do” because I just go and do it, varying it a bit each time.
I rough chopped a few spring onions and tossed them into my mini-food processor — the Breville “Control Grip.”
I chopped some celery from the top of a head, leaves and all and threw that in.
Normally, I would put in a carrot, but I had two small pasilla chilis I got at the farmers market. This will make the sauce a bit “Southwestern”-Italian for a change of pace. [NOTE] (These are actually the dark green poblano chilis, often called pasilla chilis in the US.).
So, I fine chopped those in the mini-processor and got them going in olive oil in my skillet over a very low flame. These will need to cook for a while – at least 15 minutes – until beyond soft. Ideally, the vegetables will disappear into the sauce.
Added some white wine and cooked that down to nearly dry.
Sliced two Niman Ranch Spicy Italian Sausages in half lengthwise, cleared a space in the center of the skillet and added a little olive oil, fried those, cut side down, until browned.
Tomatoes: Normally, I use a can of San Marzano tomatoes, but I have these pickled tomatoes that I canned last fall. Why not process those — basil and peppercorns and garlic and all — in the mini-processor, since I have it out.
Added the tomato sauce and some dried Italian Seasoning, and slowly cooked that down, seasoning with salt and pepper. That sauce is good.
When I don’t make pasta or buy fresh pasta, I like thin spaghetti, its very comforting to me. Scanning the Barilla shelf in the supermarket, I saw Spaghetti Rigati. Hmmm. Its thin, has ridges to hold sauce, and I’ve never tried it… three good reasons to buy. For just me and Carol, I use a third of a pound of pasta for a meal. I cooked that, tossed it with the sauce, and served.
That’s darned good. Yum. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing about it.) I served it with tomato and cucumber salad with fresh mozzarella balls, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant red wine. Yum. Continue reading