Tag: Tomatoes

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerEasy Year-Round Tomato Sauce // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Over Christmas, my sister Emily was raving about this tomato sauce on Smitten Kitchen that I’d seen several times. For some reason, it never really stuck out to me. It’s almost too easy.

But for New Year’s Eve we were having some friends over, and I decided to make fresh pasta with homemade sauce. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to find incredible fresh tomatoes, I decided to give the recipe a shot. And you know what? It was awesome.

I did a few things differently. Firstly, I doubled the recipe. I probably could have still only used one onion, but I used two. Instead of just mashing the tomatoes against the side of the pan, after removing the onion I used an immersion blender to slightly puree the sauce. I’m not a huge fan of chunks in my tomato sauce, so it was a personal taste thing. I also added some chili flakes for a bit of heat.

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano (yes, you can taste the difference)
5 Tbl unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
Red chili flakes
Salt

Instructions

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine butter, tomatoes, onion, and a pinch of red chili flakes. Choose a pan bigger than you might think. The onions can be a little unwieldy while stirring as they’re in such big chunks. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain that simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while, and smashing the tomatoes against the sides of the pot (be careful not to squirt all over yourself here). Remove onions from sauce, turn off heat, and, if you’d like, use an immersion blender to lightly purée the sauce. If not, that’s ok too. Season to taste. Use sauce to dress your favorite pasta (homemade or otherwise), or in a lasagna or on pizza.

Lasagna, of the cheesiest variety

Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Sometimes you need to make those meals that yield a million servings so you can eat it all week. The week before the CD release concert we had for Jonah’s new album was absolutely one of those weeks.

We had a few guests staying with us, band practice almost every night, and I had work on the nights I wasn’t rehearsing. It was a busy time, to say the least. So the night of our Kickstarter team meeting, to discuss merch and social media, etc. I made this lasagna, so that we could eat it throughout the week. It was high up on the list of best lasagna I’ve ever made. What made it so good? The homemade sauce, the homemade noodles, and some absurd amounts of cheese.

I’ll admit, however, that this uses a lot of dishes, and has a fair amount of ingredients. But when you’ve got some time and you’re making a meal that will carry you through the week, it’s worth it. I like to think of it as an entire week’s worth of mess (and cleanup).

Cheesy Meat Lasagna

Note: I used a 13×9 inch baking dish, and filled it right up to the brim. I put a baking sheet underneath it to catch any overflow (which was minimal), but still, if you’ve got a slightly bigger baking dish, it might be a good idea to use it.

Ingredients

Noodles

3 eggs
2 cups flour

Meat Sauce

Olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, other Italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, to your liking)
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed (or diced) San Marzano tomatoes (yes, these are expensive, but I found it to be terribly worth it, and they weren’t THAT MUCH more than the other brands)

Ricotta Filling

3 cups ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2-3 cups (preferably freshly) grated mozzarella

Instructions

Noodles

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a bowl and whisk, or a bowl and fork, mix up the eggs and flour into a dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour 1 tsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Dump the dough out onto floured surface, knead a few times, and wrap in plastic (or put in a bowl and cover with dishtowel) and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Meat Sauce

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbl olive oil over medium heat, and add the onion and carrot. Cook until starting to soften. Add the garlic, beef, and Italian sausage, and cook until the meat has browned. Add 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, and whatever other spices you’d like (I did 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp dried parsley). Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes to the pot (no need to drain them!) and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cover, letting it simmer for ~30 minutes.

Ricotta Filling

While your dough is resting and your sauce is simmering you can whip up the ricotta filling. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pepper, and 1/2 cup of both the grated mozzarella and parmesan. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your lasagna.

Roll out your pasta into sheets for lasagna and set aside, covering so that the noodles don’t dry out. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly coat your baking dish with oil. Spread ~1 cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Here’s how you’re going to do this: noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese. That’s your order. On top of the sauce in the bottom of the dish, arrange a layer of noodles; spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top, then 1 cup sauce, and sprinkle with cheese (a mixture of the mozzarella and parmesan). Do that twice (now we’ve got sauce, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese), and in the next layer, leave out the cheese (so just noodles, ricotta, sauce). Put another layer of noodles on top, spread the rest of the sauce on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Phew! If you don’t feel like following my layering instructions, just do whatever you want. It’ll probably work, and you’ve probably eaten enough lasagna in your life to figure out how it works.

Bake the lasagna for 30-40 minutes, rotating it half way through, until the cheese on top is melted and turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool/set for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Friday Finds 8:30:13 (a day late)

Friday Finds have gone on a little break as I’ve been adjusting to a new home and a new schedule. But we’re back! And hopefully will be more regular from here on out. Here’s what I’ve found this week (and the two weeks before that).

1. Popsicle Week on Smitten Kitchen

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Popsicle week on Smitten Kitchen!

It’s popsicle week over on Smitten Kitchen, and these treats are not only perfect for the hot weather (not that we’ve been having too much of that in Portland), but look delicious enough to eat year round. Flavors include Pink Lemonade, Butterscotch Pudding, and Key Lime Pie.

2. Tomato Tatin

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tomato Tatin by Whip + Click on Design*Sponge

This Tomato Tatin recipe looks killer good and pretty dang easy. I’ve been craving tomatoes left and right, so this seems like a perfect dish to make to satisfy my tomato-tooth. It also led me to my next discovery…

3. Whip + Click

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Whip + Click, a duo creating beautiful foodie work.

This week’s discovery of Whip + Click, a pastry chef/photographer duo has me head over heels. With truly beautiful food photos and awesome recipes (roasted peaches with honey and rosemary as summer winds down, or maybe sweet potato handpies for the fall table), this is some really inspiring work.

4. Guacamole Saver

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
An amazing guacamole saving tip!

This tip for saving guacamole is about to change lives. For real. I’m not even kidding.

5. Cocktails

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Bufala Negra from There Will Be Bourbon

Why don’t I make more of them? They are so fun and easy and you can try so many new flavor combinations. I’ll tell you why. Liquor is expensive. But if I did have all the money and liquor I wanted, you can bet I’d head over to There Will Be Bourbon to make me one of these Bufala Negras.

6. Cheese and fruit crostini

Friday Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Grape and Ricotta Crostini from A Cozy Kitchen

I have been seeing these kinds of recipes all over the place: roasted grape and ricotta crostini, roasted apricot and goat cheese crostini, fromage blanc and roasted ANY KIND OF FRUIT crostini. These are so incredibly easy and make a good impression on guests.

Friday Finds 7:5:13

Jonah and I are in Chicago for the holiday weekend. Today we’re actually heading to Wisconsin, where Jonah’s playing drums (!!!) with his old Cajun band in a music festival. It should be pretty entertaining. Here’s the Friday finds for this week.

1. Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
A flight of ice cream from Salt & Straw

The famous Portland ice creamery just opened a third location on SE Division, which is awesome and oh so dangerous.

2. Sour Plum Upside-Down Cake

Sour Plum Upside Down Cake from A Cozy Kitchen // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sour Plum Upside Down Cake from A Cozy Kitchen

This sour plum upside down cake from A Cozy Kitchen sounds absolutely wonderful. And now that plums are coming into season, it is definitely on my list.

3. Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Roasted Tomatoes

I am waiting patiently (or not… whatever…) to make some roasted tomatoes this summer. I had mostly forgotten about them until my dear friend Rosanne told me she was making some. Now they’re all I can think about.

4. Blackberry Mint Lime Fruit Leather

Blackberry Mint Lime Fruit Leathers from In Sock Monkey Slippers // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Blackberry Mint Lime Fruit Leathers from In Sock Monkey Slippers

Doesn’t that title just kill you? Blackberries, AND mint, AND lime? And if you take a look at the recipe over on In Monkey Sock Slippers, it looks pretty dang simple to make. The key is not forgetting about it in the oven after 6 hours.