Everything started off pretty well. I got all my grocery shopping done, unpacked and mostly put away. I started my sauce and realized I was pretty hungry. Frosty had meetings and since I was the only one eating I thought, “Why not treat myself to something that I love and no one else in this family will eat...liver and onions.” Let's face it, you either love this dish or you hate it. I get it that most people hate it but I love it.
When I was in culinary school I would treat myself once every week or so to liver and onions at The Tenderloin Room in the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. One day the owner sat down and asked me about my liver and onion obsession. He described his cooking method and told me that the secret to good liver and onions is the liver. As I was leaving he came out of the kitchen and gave me a nice big piece of frozen liver. A gift of liver...how sweet. I won't bore you with the details of how to make liver and onions since there may only be one of you interested. If anyone is a fellow “liver and onion” lover and would like to know how I prepared this dish please let me know.
Calf's Liver Lyonnaise, Lyonnaise means "cooked with onions". I love this dish served with fresh green peas, carrots and pearl onions sauteed in a bit of olive oil and butter, seasoned with S&P and thyme. Whipped potatoes would be a perfect starch.
And, after my lovely dinner so began the first clean up of the night.
Now back to the sauce. In culinary school we learned that tomato sauce is actually one of the five mother sauces (BETHV=bechamel, espagnole, tomato, hollandaise, velouté). I have taken the classic French tomato sauce recipe and made some changes. The result is a delicious, rustic tomato sauce that works very well with all pastas but I think it is especially wonderful with a wide noodle.
The first step in making this sauce requires a lot of chopping. I look at this as an opportunity to hone my knife skills. This was my first knife skills practical in culinary school.
TOMATO SAUCE FOR PASTA
1 pint olive oil
½ lb. Onion, chopped fine
½ lb. Carrot, chopped fine
½ lb. Celery, chopped fine
28 oz. Can whole tomatoes
42 oz. Can diced tomatoes
29 oz. Stewed tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 oz. Salt
1 tablespoon sugar
For this sauce you will want to cut your vegetables into brunoise sized dice (1/8” x 1/8”).
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute lightly for a few minutes. Do not let them brown.
Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered, about 1 hour until reduced and thickened.
Pass through a food mill.
I like to use a medium grate on the food mill. This gives you that rustic sauce I was talking about. The pieces of carrot and celery are beautiful on the pasta and I love actually tasting the ingredients. If you prefer a smoother sauce simply use a finer grate on the food mill. I'm aggressive with the food mill as I want to be sure to get all of that goodness and thickness from the vegetables.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. I like to add fresh basil chiffonade at this time. I return to a simmer and cook a bit longer. This sauce can be well ahead of time.
Just one last note. This recipe calls for quite a bit of olive oil. It is about 1 tablespoon for a 3-oz. portion which is typical for classic Italian tomato sauce. It is not necessary, however, to use that much if you interested in creating a lighter sauce. I have found that when I make the sauce more rustic I enjoy the full amount of olive oil and it works well with the consistency. If I make a smoother sauce I use the full amount of oil through the cooking process and then skim off some at the end.
I am not sure I will get to a dessert post today or tomorrow. If anyone is looking for something extraordinary to make for your father I strongly recommend Bobby Flay's German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Cajeta Frosting. (link) Be sure to allow yourself a full afternoon to complete the project. It is very time consuming but totally worth the effort.
This Father's Day Frosty has requested Chocolate Cream Pie. I use a very rich chocolate cream pie filling from Mary Engelbreit's Sweet Treats Dessert Cookbook. We'll save that for another post.
Enjoy your Father's Day weekend.