If you read part one now we are getting into part two which will have two recipes in it that utilize the tomato sauce from part one. If you have not had the 4 minutes to spare, you can check in on the Tomato Sauce part one excerpt and make your tomato sauce and then jump back to join us here.
As mentioned in the previous post, tomato sauce is a Mother Sauce and as such can be made from scratch and then used as an ingredient of its own. The two recipes I am going to share with you are family recipes. We do not use these in our business and I have strong memories of both meals.
The first one is a Depression Era meal and uses an onion and eggs with the tomato sauce. This recipe was made by my great grandmother Vera, who was originally born in Rome and immigrated to the USA before the depression. She lost her husband and remarried. When she remarried the family moved to Cleveland OH where my grandfather was raised. She spoke no English and because of the language barrier the hospital messed up the baby (my grandfathers) name by giving him her first husband's surname.
She made her own bread every day, rolled her own pasta and had a brood of children from both marriages. She raised her family and they all ended up living on one street for the duration of my fathers upbringing. I never had the chance to meet her since she passed far before I was born but I think her spirit ended up in me a bit since, without knowing about it until I was an adult, I started cooking and baking very early on.
Anyway, Vera used to make this dish that I called Tomato and Eggs and as an adult I have modified it to Eggs in Purgatory since Chef likes it with bell peppers and then we can add Saint Oil (a very hot infused oil we make). The basic idea is to heat up your oil and toss in a sliced onion, cook that a minute and then pour a chunky tomato sauce over the eggs, let it merry for a couple minutes and adjust seasoning. Take your eggs and crack them directly into the sauce and top each egg with a bit of cheese. Cover the whole pan with a lid and turn off the heat, let the eggs cook for a couple minutes in the residual heat to your desired doneness, I like a dippy egg so it can be broken open when served and add unctuousness to the sauce. This can be served with slices of bread or over potatoes or penne pasta. I prefer it over penne pasta myself. But this dish was a way to make a family meal stretch by adding the onions to some tomatoes and allowing the eggs to cook in the sauce. The version I have now is a bit more spiced and includes peppers for the heat we like.
Depression Era Eggs in Purgatory
Basic Tomato Sauce (Steps 1-5 for a chunky version)
2T olive oil
1 bell pepper - sliced in strips
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 onion - sliced in strips
4-6 eggs (depends on the size of your pan, usually 1-2 eggs per person)
shredded parmesan cheese
Saints Oil or Pepper infused oil if you like
1. Heat your oil in a saute pan and fry your bell pepper, onion and red pepper flakes to soften.
2. Pour the Tomato Sauce over the vegetables and mix lightly. Allow to simmer for one minute. Adjust seasoning.
3. Crack your eggs intot he sauce and top each egg with a pinch of shredded parmesan cheese. Cover teh saute pan and turn off the heat.
4. After 4 minutes check the eggs for doneness and turn on low heat if you want them to cook a bit more.
5. Once to your desired doneness scoop out, without breaking the egg, directly into a bowl and serve with bread, or over top penne pasta. Drizzle hot pepper oil if that suits your taste.
Enjoy! This is a fast dish and uses basic pantry staples so put it on your rotation for winter time weeknight dinners.
The second recipe we are going over today is one my mom made often and I used to request when I would visit from college. Here we are taking the tomato sauce and adding some meat and herbs with a heavy hand, then finishing the dish with cream to make a pink sauce. My kids really like this now and I make it as a special treat for a weekend dinner because the leftovers, if we have any, make a good lunch the next day.
Sausage is my secret weapon when it comes to fast dinners. It comes already seasoned and I can use it for stuffed peppers, quiche, soups, and also links on their own my kids will eat as the main dish any day. This is one of the most versatile tricks I learned as an adult. i hope your family likes this dish as much as we do:
Sausage and Cream Pasta
1 lb Italian sausage, bulk packed (not in links or patties, just ground up sausage meat)
1 recipe Tomato Sauce, smooth or chunky
2 stalks rosemary, picked and chopped
3/4 c cream
salt and pepper to taste
4 leaves pf basil, torn at the end
1. In a saucepan put a tablespoon of oil and brown your sausage over medium heat. Break up the sausage into bits with a wooden spoon as you cook it to make little browned bits of the whole thing. Do not raise your heat, you want the fat from the sausage to cook the meat and also it to still be tender, not dry. This will take 10 minutes of actively watching your meat.
2. Once your meat is almost done add the rosemary to the pan and allow it to release its fragrance into the fat of the sausage.
3. Pour your tomato sauce into the pan, allow to simmer for 3 minutes and taste for seasoning.
4. Once your sauce has taken on the meat and rosemary flavor, add your cream and simmer 5 minutes to reduce. Mix sauce into cooked rigatoni or penne pasta, garnish with torn basil.
Hopefully you will try these two simple recipes and let me know they turned out! One more installment on the Tomato Sauce series will be coming!