Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fresh Pasta Sauce & First Kisses

So in case you've been wondering, I had my first kiss in Kindergarden. It was with a boy named Sage (awesome foreshadowing for a young chef; I bet if I was into ladies, her name would have been Rosemary). I was 5 at the time and was attending kindergarten at Sacred Hearts Catholic School in Toronto, Canada. I haven't talked to Sage since, maybe because my family moved to another country, maybe because he was intimidated by my charming ways, maybe because we were five and he went on to marry a lovely woman named Lavender... I guess we will never know.

I'm not sure when Richard had his first kiss.... if I had to guess, he was probably 4 because he always has to beat me and he's always been a bit slutty. Either way, I know for sure it was not with his friend Caitlin, who he went to elementary school with at St. Patrick's Catholic School in Charlotte, North Carolina. How do I know this you ask? Because tonight she and her husband came over for dinner and I asked her. It wasn't awkward at all.

I know. My mind is blown, too... the ONE GILR EVER that Rich hasn't kissed!!!

In case you are wondering, Richard and Caitlin hadn't seen each other since elementary school, so when we found out she and her husband, Tommy, were moving to Los Angeles it was quite an exciting surprise. And you know what happens when this ginger gets excited... DINNER PARTY!

Reunited and it feels so good!

With it being peak tomato season and our garden producing quite an abundance of San Marzano tomatoes, a pasta night was absolutely necessary... and when we throw around the term PASTA NIGHT  in this house, we are not effing around. I'm wearing the engagement ring of Rich's dead Italian grandma so I have a pretty high bar to live up to, lest I find my self resting eternally next to her. So when we say "pasta" we're talking homemade pasta and homemade marinara.... with all the ingredients from our garden!

Fresh Marinara Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
3 pounds of ripe San Marzano tomatoes, blanched and peeled (Roma will work great, too)
1/2 an onion, grated
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
A splash of red wine
Lots of fresh basil
Lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
& lots of  FRESH PASTA (recipe here)

Begin by blanching the tomatoes. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Score the bottom of each tomato with a small "X" and then drop them into the boiling water for about 30 seconds and then put them into an ice bath to stop the cooking and let them cool. You will then be able to peel the skin off of them very easily. Do this with all of the tomatoes and then set them aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the grated onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until starting to caramelize. Add the minced garlic and cook just a minute until fragrant. Add a splash of red wine. I do this because I think it tastes delicious.... and lord knows I am rarely in the kitchen without a glass of it already in hand. Once the wine is reduced, add the tomatoes and bring everything to a simmer. Turn the heat to LOW and let cook for at least an hour.

The longer you cook tomato sauce, the more caramelized and delicious it gets! Your tomatoes should pretty much break down from cooking, but if they are a little chunkier than you like, you can use an immersion blender to get your sauce smooth right before serving it. Season with salt and pepper, top with tons of fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve!

One bowl, four hours of love, several hundred noodles of perfection


The dinner was amazing and tipsy. We even kept warm by a fire in our very own fire pit. Needless to say, we are so thrilled to have Caitlin and Tommy living in Los Angeles there will be many more amazing dinners to come! Cheers!!

Tommy: "Where's Caitlin!?"

Three Dog Night

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