Warning, not all aspects of the intro for this recipe for a delectable authentic Sicilian tomato sauce are appetizing. Before you reach the recipe, you have the option of reading through a semi-typical-yet-utterly-hilarious-but-slightly-gross interaction with my kids. Or, you can skip ahead now. Your choice.
Scene: Nomi is standing in the middle of the living room, having filled up on apples and pretzels and having no interest in dinner. Dina is somewhere off in a corner of the playroom, making.... progress. Dave and Leah are at the table. Eating.
Nomi: Welcome to Nomi's Game Show! You are all my intestines!
Leah: What do we have to do?
Nomi: Ummmmm...... you have to tell me what your favorite things are! Dad! What is your favorite thing?
Dave: Little girls who come back to the table and eat their dinner!
Nomi: Thank you, Dad! (stays in the living room) Mom, what is your favorite thing?
Leah: Ummm.... Nomis who come and eat their pastas with sauce!
Nomi: Thank you, Mom! Dina, what is your favorite thing?
Dina: Making poop!
Dave and Leah proceed to crack up.
Nomi (Incredulous): WHAT?!?
Dina (Shouting): MAKING POOP!!!!
Nomi: Oh. (pause) Well, thank you, Dina!!! That's all for today, folks. Join us next time for NOMI"S GAME SHOW!!!!
Pastas and Sauce2 T of olive oil
Meat of Choice or another 2 T olive oil
palmful of Italian herbs, dried
1 can tomato paste (1/4 cup)
Whatever extra veg you might have lying around: grated carrot - 1 or 2; green or red pepper, chooped fairly fine; celery, chopped; eggplant, peeled and chopped fine
Wine or beer to deglaze - 1/2 cup ish
1 T sugar
28 oz crushed tomatoes
28 oz diced
1. Heat oil to medium high. Brown your meat of choice - meatballs, etc. In our house, this is usually beef short ribs or turkey Italian sausage. When browned on all sides, remove meat and tent. Note: note cooked through - just browned. The meat will finish by poaching inside the sauce.
2. Lower heat to medium. Add herbs. Stir 30 seconds, until opened up. Add tomato paste. Stir a minute until caramelized.
3. Add extra vegetables of choice. I highly recommend grated carrots - they melt away to nothing and add a great earthiness to the dish. Peeled eggplant, seeded, has the same effect. Saute until softened - about 5 minutes. This can also be done by covering the pot for a minute or three, keeping a close eye that no one is burning.
4. Pour in beer or wine and deglaze the pan - this means you scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom. Next, add your remaining tomatoes.
5. Now, bring the whole batch up to a simmer. Taste. Add sugar. Add salt and pepper SPARINGLY. Keep the whole thing at a simmer, cover and cook for as a long as you have. Whenever you think of it, stop by, taste and re-season. Serve to high acclaim. Just don't let your kiddos snack too much beforehand.