Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Puttanesca Sauce from Food & Wine

One of the last products that I still routinely turn to store bought is tomato sauce.  There are a few good clean brands/varieties out there and well, I don't have endless hours to spend in the kitchen.  But do you need hours to make a great homemade sauce?  No you do not!  And really if I were to keep track of the amount of time I spend staring at the tomato sauce aisle reading ingredients, it makes better sense just to make the sauce myself.  

When I made Sara Hatch's Chicken Puttanesca from her blog Edible I decided to make my own Puttanesca sauce.  The one I found was from Food & Wine and can be found here.  The only ingredient that needed to be omitted was sugar and well, that's no problem for me.

I gathered all of my ingredients and got started.  Sorry, I didn't take a picture of just the sauce ingredients when I made the Chicken Puttanesca, so this picture is the closest thing to it.  

I measured out 1/4 a cup of Kalamata olives and chopped them up.

Next, I needed to fish out 6 anchovy fillets but I couldn't get them out of the jar I had whole.  I guesstimated what 6 whole fillets would look like.  

I heated the oil in a 2.5 quart sauce pan.  Once it was hot, I added the garlic gloves, anchovies and crushed red chili peppers to the pan.  

Next, I measured out a tablespoon of tomato paste.  I finally bought a tube of tomato paste.  Its expensive, but over the long run, I'll save money from not opening a new can of tomato paste every time I just need a tablespoon.  
 By the time I added the tomato paste, my pan was quite hot.  If yours gets hot, watch out as the oil will splatter.  I stirred the pan for about a minute to make sure everything was combined well. 
It still amazes me how quickly anchovies disintegrate when cooking with them.  Next, I added the tomatoes.  I knew I needed to hand crush the whole tomatoes, but hadn't really thought my process through.  I opened the can and thought I'd just crush them over the pan straight from the can.  Bad idea.  These whole tomatoes are juicy and each time I crushed one of them, seeds and juice went everywhere, no matter how careful I was being.  I'm glad I had my apron on.  Next time, I will crush the tomatoes by hand in a bowl in the sink.  

After adding the tomatoes, I added the chopped olives, capers and basil.  And gave the sauce a good stir.  I added about a teaspoon of salt and pepper.  I let the sauce come to the boil and then turned down the heat so it would simmer.  I set a timer for 30 minutes.  

This is one of my favorite pictures lately.  I love the color and texture.
After 30 minutes, here was the sauce.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find all of the ingredients for the sauce at your "big box" grocery store.   The sauce calls for a 35 once can of whole peeled Italian tomatoes.  The largest can I found was 28 ounces.  For the sake of reviewing the recipe, I bought fancy Italian tomatoes that were $3.98/can.  Next time, I'm fairly certain and whole peeled canned tomato will do.  

Preparation & Cooking Time: The sauce took a total of 48 minutes to make.  I think I can get the preparation time on this down a bit the next time I make it.  

The Paleo Review:  Double Thumbs Up!  At first, by itself the sauce seemed a little salty to me, but when added to the chicken and spaghetti squash, I thought it was just right.  Because you hand crush the tomatoes, its a chunky sauce.  If you like yours smooth, get your blender/food processor out and make it so.  The sauce really improves with a night or two in the refrigerator.  It has a deep flavor that I've not had in a jarred sauce.  

If you've not made your own sauce, give this one a try. Seriously, you wont regret it.