Marcella Hazan’s Famous Tomato Sauce

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When it comes to essentials, like tomato sauce, originality is overrated. Marcella Hazan’s classic tomato sauce is famous and adored, and justly so. Scads of bloggers and food writers have written about it, so I’m just following along, here in The Quarantined Kitchen Diaries. This is one of the best sauces I know, and you only need four (yes, four) ingredients.

But first of all, I know what you are thinking. Who was Marcella Hazan? Right?

Marcella Hazan (née Polini; April 15, 1924 – September 29, 2013) was an Italian-born cooking writer whose books were published in English. Her cookbooks are credited with introducing the public in the United States and Britain to the techniques of traditional Italian cooking. She was considered by chefs and fellow food writers to be the doyenne of Italian cuisine.

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Marcella Hazan

 

Born in the town of Cesentaico in Emilia Romagana, she earned her doctoral degree in Natural Sciences and Biology from the University of Ferrara. In 1955 she married Victor Hazan and the couple moved to New York City a few months later. Hazan had never cooked before her marriage; she was an academic who did not have time to cook. As she recounted in the introduction to her 1997 book, Marcella Cucina,

“there I was, having to feed a young, hard-working husband who could deal cheerfully with most life’s ups and downs, but not with an indifferent meal. In Italy, I would not have wasted time thinking about it. My mother cooked, my father cooked, both my grandmothers cooked, even the farm girls who came in to clean could cook. In the kitchen of my New York apartment there was no one.”


She began using her husband’s cookbooks from Italy, but found them disappointing as she realized that her clear memory of the flavors she grew up with in Italy allowed her to reproduce her family’s recipes for herself. “Eventually, I learned that some of the methods I adopted were idiosyncratically my own,” she recalled, “but for most of them I found corroboration in the practices of traditional Italian cooks.”

Hazan began giving cooking lessons in her apartment and later opened her own cooking school in 1969. The cookbooks followed, concentrating strictly on simple Italian cookery, where food is prepared painstakingly by hand rather than machine and without American or British influences. To that end, her recipes called for ingredients typical of the Italian home and were designed to compliment the typical Italian meal that balanced two principal courses, followed by a salad and a dessert.

This classic sauce will show you once and for all that homemade tomato sauce can be so simple to make. You only need four ingredients, including a can of whole plum tomatoes, to be rewarded with a rich, velvety sauce that is blissfully delicious.

The idea behind this tomato sauce is simple: Simmer a can of tomatoes with an onion and five tablespoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt and pull out the onion at the end, and what you are left with is a bright, velvety tomato sauce with a rich roundness from the butter. The butter doesn’t cut the edges of the tomatoes’ tanginess in the way that sugar does; instead it complements the brightness and makes it shine.

This tomato sauce is also entirely hands-off; so you don’t even have mince or chop the onion. It’s a great way to knock a meal together with a few pantry staples. Serve it over pasta with a flurry of cheese, and enjoy tomato sauce with the flair of restaurant richness.

Buon appetito!

 

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SERVES 2 to 4

INGREDIENTS:

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, no salt or herbs added

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small white onion, peeled and cut in half

Kosher salt

For Serving:

1 pound Cooked pasta

Shaved Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Add the tomatoes, butter, onion halves, and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring and crushing the tomatoes lightly with the back of a spoon occasionally, until droplets of fat appear on the surface of the tomatoes, about 45 minutes.

Remove and discard the onion.

Serve over hot pasta with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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COOK’S NOTES:

Adapted in my own words from Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.”

Basically, you can use what you have on hand to make this sauce. I personally like the Cento brand of San Marzan canned tomato because the product does not contain calcium chloride as a preservative . Also, this variety seems the most balanced, while other cooks with taste more of the acidity in this brand. If you find that your sauce in this recipe is a bit too acidic, add a bit of sugar, to taste.

If you do not have any small white onions on hand, feel free to use red onions, yellow onion or vadalia onions. Looking in my pantry, I was short on small to medium onions and made do with the pearl onions I had on hand.

If desired, you can add cracked black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to add a bit of spice to your sauce.

But remember, for each substitution, you will change the flavor profile of the original recipe……and that is okay.

Remember, recipes are designed to be guides that allow for experimentation and improvisation in your kitchen, because every cook, whether they are professionals, advanced home cooks or novices just beginning will find what suits them to the best of their abilities.


Roasted Turkey Legs with Root Vegetable Mash

Roasted turkey leg recipe

Served up as a large dish to share, this edible mountain made up of turkey legs, pancetta and a root vegetable mash  will bring a sense of adventure to your dinner table. This imaginative recipe makes a delicious centrepiece for a Christmas dinner.

Recipe Adapted from
Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Great British Chefs

November 2019

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Turkey Drumsticks:
3 turkey drumsticks,  1 1/2 pounds (800g) each
1 large onion, large dice
2 carrots, large dice
2 celery stalks, large dice
2 garlic cloves, bruised
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups (1000ml) chicken stock
2 1/3 cups (500ml)   apple juice
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground black pepper

For the Root Vegetable Mash:
3 large potatoes, peeled and large dice
4 carrots, peeled and large dice
2 parsnips, peeled and medium dice
2 1/2 tablespoons (30g) of butter
3/4 cups (150ml) of milk
1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper

For Serving:
2-3 cauliflower florets
2 slices of pancetta or bacon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to  300º F (150˚C/Gas Mark 2).

For the turkey, place the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs in a deep roasting tray.

Combine the chicken stock and apple juice in a pan and bring to the boil.

Season the drumsticks with salt and pepper and place them on top of the vegetables and herbs and pour in the hot stock, ensuring half of the turkey drumsticks are submerged and the other half are exposed. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.Remove from the oven, take off the foil and turn the drumsticks over. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour – until the meat is cooked and tender and the exposed part of the turkey drumstick is nicely browned

Meanwhile, lay each slice of pancetta down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place another piece of baking parchment on top, followed by a tray to press down – this will stay on top during the cooking to prevent the pancetta from curling while cooking. Place in the same oven as the turkey for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.

For the root vegetable mash, place the potatoes, carrots and parsnips in a saucepan and cover with cold water

Bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow to steam for 5 minutes.

Return to the pan and place over a low heat, adding the butter, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Once combined, remove from the heat and mash as desired

By this time the turkey should almost be ready. Remove the pan from the oven and take the drumsticks out of the liquid and place on some kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture. Reserve the liquid.

To serve, spoon the mash across the center of a large dish or serving platter.

Using a pair of tongs, arrange the turkey drumsticks onto the mash with the small ends sticking up and meeting in the middle to form the peak of the mountain. Garnish with the crispy pancetta.

Using a fine grater or micro-plane, grate the cauliflower over the final dish to make ‘snow’ and serve with the braising liquid as gravy, on the side in a gravy boat.

 

 

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Mr. Crumb Stuffing Waffles with Fried Eggs

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Photo Credit: Umami Girl, 2019.

 

 

For a change of pace this St. Patrick’s Day,  take a chance and try these savory waffles with cheddar made with Mr. Crumb Sage and Onion Stuffing™ . This dish works equally well for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Top with a fried egg and a dollop of sour cream and serve with a side of bacon and grilled tomatoes for a truly excellent meal.

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Adapted from
Mr. Crumb
February, 2019

Serves 6

Ingredients:
For the waffles:
Two  8-ounce (225g)  tubs of Mr. Crumb Sage and Onion Stuffing™
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 ounces (50g) Kerry Gold Dubliner Irish Cheddar Cheese™
1 tablespoon  fresh chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable cooking spray

For the Eggs:
Large knob of butter
6 large eggs
Snipped fresh chives, for garnish

For Serving:
Cooked bacon, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes or sautéed spinach

 

Directions:
Preheat a waffle iron to a medium setting.

Place the stuffing in a large bowl, gently breaking up any large lumps. Add the egg and stir to combine, making sure that all of the stuffing is evenly moistened.

Stir in the cheese and add parsley, thyme and  salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the stuffing mix into six equal portions and shape each one into a patty about 1-inch thick.

Using vegetable spray, lightly grease the waffle iron. Add the patty to the waffle iron and cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining patties.

Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter has melted and the skillet is hot, fry the eggs until cooked to your liking.

To serve, place a waffled on a plate and top with an egg and season with salt and black pepper. Serve with crispy bacon, fried mushrooms grilled tomatoes or sautéed spinach, if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Cook’s Notes:
Mr. Crumb Gourmet Stuffing is a product of Ireland and is cooked by hand in small batches by sautéing onions, herbs and spices in pure Irish Butter (made with milk from grass fed cows) before mixing in fresh breadcrumb. The product is available in the United States at Safeway and Albertson Supermarkets.