Monday, October 10, 2005

Skip The Jar, Use The Can

I don't see how people can stand using those nasty jarred pasta sauces like Rag-Eww or even Classic-Uh-Oh when it's just as easy to make your own. Funny enough, it comes out of a can.

The following is a recipe, adapted from one of
Mark Bitmann's, for Arrabiata Sauce, which literally translated means "Angry Sauce" in Italian. Whoever invented it was probably angry from eating yucky jarred sauces and then came up with this one. It's fast and incredibly easy to make.

Arrabiata Sauce
(adapted from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, cut into chunks or slices
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, drained and crushed with a fork
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

*Heat olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic becomes quite brown--but not black--about 3-4 minutes. (Bittman says 7-8 minutes, but I strongly disagree. 7-8 minutes over medium-high will yield black, bitter garlic for sure.)
*Add tomatoes to the skillet along with salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes saucy, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Violà! There you have it. Browning the garlic and red pepper flakes in hot olive oil first gives the tomato sauce a smoky, spicy dimension that you'll never get out of that jarred stuff. Serve with penne pasta and some grated pecorino-romano, and you've got a simple pasta dish with some serious bite.

P.S. I have to admit, though, that I do keep a jar of the jarred stuff in the fridge for emergencies!


Doran said...

Thankfully I've given up on the stuff in a jar. The last one I bought sat in the refrig door, unopened, for about six months before I realized I was never going to open it.

I love this simple recipe. I'll definitely check it out.

Canned tomatoes are one of those things that most folk (at least here in sunny SoCal) overlook. While vine ripened is usually my first choice, I'll take canned tomatoes over the underripened gassed supermarket variety 10 times out of 10. There are some truly wonderful canned tomatoes imported from Italy.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

pam, does the sauce taste sour? everytime i cook w/ whole tomatoes i end up using sugar to balance out the taste.

Kirk said...

Hey Dylan - Use San Marzano tomatoes, they're pricey, but worth it. If they could can sunshine, that's what it would taste like! You should be able to get it at various italian markets.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this is an old post, but I was looking for this recipe online. I love this recipe and have used it many times. I think in particular what makes this recipe is the browned -- not burned garlic -- fried in the olive oil, and of course, the San Marzano tomatoes and a bit of fresh parsley. I recommended this the other day to some friends, but everyone objected to the browned garlic, saying they "hated it."

Is it just me, but I think if you do it right, it tastes just like what you might get in a restaurant? I want to know what your opinion is. I think this one's a keeper.