When we were in Italy, almost 3 years ago, we took a family cooking class in Tuscany. It was a blast. The cooking class took place at the home of the cooking instructor. Some of the participants were staying at the instructor’s home to cook for the week. We were only there for a morning/afternoon of fun. We cooked from about 10 am until about 1 pm, when we all sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor together – complete with the instructor’s family. Husband, children, grandpa (who grated the parmesan), the whole crew.
We dined on some great food that day, but the recipe that we always come back to is Salsa Agli Aromi: tomato sauce with garlic and herbs. The girls got a chance to do a lot of chopping of herbs that day, with a mezzaluna. The sauce we made had lots of fresh herbs, onions, garlic and tomatoes. We also added a nice bit of cream to half the sauce, so that we could learn that the sauce could be served either way: simple or creamy. The creamy one was our favorite, though the simple sauce was divine, too.
Tonight, I was a little stretched for time. Lots of packing to do – and Open House at school. And, my herb pot is not in full production, yet. I improvised on our favorite sauce and cooked up a quick version. I also used a new pasta for us, Barilla Plus, which has more fiber (but is not totally whole grain). The new pasta is a keeper.
J hummed though dinner in her state of hunger and fulfillment. L & I took spoons to slurp up the last few bits of sauce from our bowls. Even without the fresh herbs, it was YUM.
Tomato Cream Sauce for Spaghetti
Makes about 4 cups
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. rubbed dried sage
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
1/8 tsp. dried red chili pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the sage, rosemary and oregano. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes (and juices from the can) to the pot, breaking up the tomatoes, with your fingers, as you add them. Bring to a simmer and add the chili pepper flakes, the ground pepper and the salt. Simmer, gently, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and if you want a smooth sauce (which my kids like), puree the sauce with an immersion blender (or food mill). Add the cream, stir and bring back to a simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve over spaghetti, or other pasta, with a little basil and some parmesan cheese.