Sauces





Brown Butter Sage Sauce





Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

 




Instructions

 
Step 1: While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a 12 to 14-inch saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter. 
 
Step 2: Add sage leaves and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside. 
 
Step 3: Drain the pasta, but leaving some cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat. Add the cheese, toss to coat and serve immediately.




Canned Tomato Sauce




 

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes, cored and quartered - For a thin sauce, you'll need an average of 35 pounds of tomatoes to produce 7 quart jars of sauce. For a thick sauce, you'll need an average of 46 pounds to yield 7 quart jars.
  • Salt (optional) 
  • Fresh basil (optional)
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Wash jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Keep Jars warm until ready to use to minimize risk of breakage when filling with hot tomato sauce. You can heat them in a pot of simmering water or in a heated dishwasher.
 
Step 2:  Wash and sort tomatoes, removing any bruised or discolored product. Quarter tomatoes and place in a large stainless steel saucepan. 
 
  
 
Step 3: Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir and crush tomatoes to release juices. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
 
  
 
   
   
 
Step 4: Working in batches, press tomatoes through a food mill to remove skins and seeds.  Continue to run skins and seeds through the food mill until all juice is extracted and skins and seed mixture is dry.  We ran our mixture through the food mill about 10 times.
 
   
 
 
Step 5: Return mixture to saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil until volume is reduced by at least one-third for a thin sauce. For a thicker sauce, cook until reduced by half. We reduced by one-third and made a thin sauce.
 
 
Step 6: Before filling each jar with tomato sauce, add 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves (optional) to each jar.
 
Step 7: Ladle hot sauce into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
 
  
 
Step 8: Place jars on rack immediately after packing. Lower filled rack into canner. Fill the water bath canner with enough water so that the water level is 1 to 2 inches above the tops of jars. 
 
 
 
 
Step 9: Bring to a boil and process quart jars for 40 minutes. When the water comes to a rolling boil, start to count the processing time. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and keep jars separated to allow for air space.
 
 
Step 10: After jars have cooled, test for seal. To do this press down on the center of the lid. The lid should be con-caved and should not move when pressed. Another method is to tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. If the jar is sealed correctly, it will make a high-pitched sound. If it makes a dull sound it means the lid is not sealed or possibly that food is in contact with the underside of the lid.
 
Step 11:  Store jars in a cool dark, dry place. 



 

Cheryl's Famous Pizza Sauce




 

Ingredients

  •     1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •     1/2 onion, finely chopped
  •     1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  •     1/2 teaspoon sugar
  •     salt and pepper, to taste
  •     1 tablespoon oregano
  •     1 tablespoon olive oil
  •     crushed red pepper, to taste and optional



 


Instructions

Step 1: Saute onions in olive oil until translucent.

Step 2: Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes. You can substitute 1 can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped in a food processor,  plus 1/4 cup of tomato paste for the 1 can of tomato sauce.

 

 

 




 

Classic Bolognese Sauce




 

Ingredients

  •     4 pounds of ground sirloin
  •     5 tablespoons olive oil
  •     2 carrots, finely chopped
  •     1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  •     1 onions, finely chopped
  •     3 garlic cloves, minced
  •     up to 1 bottle of red wine
  •     1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  •     8 to 10 cups of canned whole tomatoes, crushed through a food mill (to remove seeds).
  •     salt and pepper to taste
  •     fresh basil



 


Instructions

Step 1: Take the ground sirloin out of the fridge and lay it on a tray. Let it come to room temperature, so that it will sear rather than steam when it goes into the pan.



 

Step 2: Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan, add meat to the pan, making sure that the meat is covering the base of the pan.

Step 3: Leave for about 5 to 6 minutes, so that the meat sears underneath and heats through completely before you start stirring (otherwise it will ooze protein and liquid and it will steam rather than sear). Stir meat every 4 minutes for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Strain meat through a colander to remove fat.  Set aside.

Step 4: Add the vegetables and minced garlic to wide-bottomed saucepan, and sweat over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes without allowing it to color (you will need to keep stirring).

  

Step 5: Add meat to vegetables. Stir the  meat and vegetables every 4 minutes for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. At this point, the meat is ready to take the wine.

Step 6: Add the wine and let it reduce to virtually nothing, then add tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the entire time.

Step 7: Add the crushed whole tomatoes with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer and cook for about 2 hours, adding water, if necessary from time to time, until you have a thick sauce. Add basil.

Step 8: When you are ready to serve the bolognese sauce, cook your pasta (preferably tagliatelle, pappardelle, gnocchi, or a short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the bolognese sauce to the pasta and toss well, adding some of the cooking water, if necessary to loosen the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Reggiano parmesan cheese.





Creamy Caramel Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup





Ingredients

  •     3/4 cup sugar
  •     1/4 cup water
  •     6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  •     1/2 cup heavy cream
  •     1/2 teaspoon vanilla




Instructions


Step 1: In a heavy saucepan simmer sugar, water, corn syrup, and a pinch salt, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.




Step 2: Boil mixture, without stirring, until a golden caramel. This may take up to 15 minutes (depending how hot your burners are).




Step 3: When the mixture is a golden caramel color, remove pan from heat and add cream and vanilla, stirring until combined well, about 1 minute.


Step 4: Cool sauce to room temperature (sauce will thicken as it cools). Sauce keeps, covered and chilled, 3 weeks. Bring sauce to room temperature before serving.

Hollandaise or Bearnaise Sauce





Ingredients

 

To make the hollandaise:

  • 4 ounces butter, clarified and cooled somewhat
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and cayenne pepper

 

To make the bearnaise:

 

  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, more if desired
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaf
  • 4 ounces butter, clarified and cooled somewhat
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and cayenne pepper

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Clarified butter is unsalted butter that has the milk solids and water removed so all that remains is pure liquid golden-yellow butterfat. It is used to make hollandaise and béarnaise sauce because water in ordinary butter tends to make the emulsion break. Clarified butter, with the water removed, eliminates this problem. To clarify the butter: Gently melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. (We doubled the recipe in the picture below).
 
 
Step 2: The foam on the surface is the butter's water content boiling off. The white residue on the bottom is the milk solids separating out from the butterfat and water.  In the middle is a pure golden-yellow liquid called clarified butter.  When you have skimmed all the white foam from the surface of the clarified butter, and it has stopped bubbling, remove the saucepan from the heat.   
 
  
 
Step 3: Let the butter sit a few minutes to allow the milk solids to further settle to the bottom, and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve or  a cheesecloth-lined strainer.  The liquid collected is the golden-yellow clarified butter (butterfat) that can be covered and stored several months in the refrigerator.  Chilled clarified butter does become grainy.
 
 

Step 4: To make the hollandaise: Break up eggs with a teaspoon of warm water.

 
Step 5: Whisking over simmering water, add the butter in a slow stream to the eggs, removing the pan from the heat as necessary.
 
 
Step 6: Once all the butter has been incorporated, season the sauce with lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve, but do not hold at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
 

To Make the Bearnaise Sauce

 
Step 1: Combine vinegar, wine, shallots, black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon in a small saucepan.
 
 
Step 2:  Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, 5 to 10 minutes.
 
Step 3: Add egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water to reduced vinegar mixture.  Whisk until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.
 
Step 4: Set pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed reaching all over bottom and insides of pan, where eggs tend to overcook.
 
Step 5: To moderate heat, frequently move pan off burner for a few seconds, then back on.
 
Step 6: As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, then thicken. When the bottom of the pan is visible in the streaks left by the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from heat.
 
Step 7: Slowly add butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each. As the emulsion forms, add butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed.
 
 
Step 8: Season with salt, remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and, if desired, pepper. Add a few droplets of lemon juice if necessary.
 
 
Repairing a broken hollandaise: Hollandaise sauces may break for the following reasons:
  • The eggs got too hot over the simmering water
  • The butter was too cold to be emulsified
  • The butter was too hot (not cooled sufficiently after being clarified)
  • The butter wasn't incorporated properly (whisked in too quickly or whisked insufficiently during incorporation)
 
To repair a broken hollandaise, begin with a little warm water in the bottom of your bowl.  Add the hollandaise, whisking constantly and vigorously, until reincorporated. Alternatively, use a blender in the same fashion.




Jennifer White's Best Ligurian Pesto Sauce

Generally, I tend to kill everything I plant. Just ask my friend Maria. This year; however,  I've been really successful growing basil, probably because I've paid it a little more attention than usual - I've actually watered and fed the plants on a routine basis. I have basil growing everywhere in my back yard so it's a good thing that I really love it.  I love the smell of it, the taste of it - and I love a good authentic basil pesto sauce.  
 
Pesto is a basil sauce that comes from the city of Genova in the Ligurian region of northwest Italy. Purists only use the classic ingredients in their pesto, which are basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil.  Here are some tips I've learned over the years about making pesto:
 
  • Use a tiny leaf basil to make your pesto if you can.  The smaller leaves tend to build up the highest concentration of chlorophyll, and therefore have more intense flavor.  
  • Smaller leaves are less fibrous than bigger ones so the pesto will have a smoother texture.
  • If you are using a food processor, make sure your blade is sharp so that it will chop the basil quickly. If the blades are dull and you process it too long, the basil may become warm and it will begin to ferment and taste bitter.
  • Use a smooth tasting olive oil and very little garlic so that the oil and garlic don't overpower the basil.
  • I think it's best to use a combination of pecorino and parmesan cheese.
 
This recipe belongs to my friend Jennifer White and it is the best!
 
Makes enough sauce for 16 ounces of pasta
 




Ingredients

  • 3 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4  to 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Reggiano Parmigiano
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano
 




Instructions


Step 1: To toast your pine nuts:  Over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a small skillet. Add pine nuts and toast until light brown. Alternatively, you can toast your pine nuts in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.
 
 
Step 2: Pulse in a food processor 1 cup of the basil leaves,  garlic and salt to combine.  My basil leaves were larger than I would have liked but I used what I had available.
 
Step 3:  Add and pulse remaining 2 cups basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, and both cheeses.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil if necessary to make a smooth and creamy paste. 
 
  
 
Step 4:  Taste pesto.  Add more pine nuts for a nuttier pesto and more Pecorino cheese if the pesto needs salt.
 
Step 5:  Add the pesto sauce to your favorite pasta. I like to use cappellini.
 
 




Oxtail Ragu

Adapted from Mario Batali, The Babbo Cookbook

 
Makes 6 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 5 pounds of oxtail, cut into two inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 medium onions, slice 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups red wine
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups simple red sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Pecorino Romano or Reggiano Parmigiano

 





Instructions

 
Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
 
Step 2: Trim the excess fat from the oxtails and season liberally with salt and pepper.
 
 
 
Step 3: In a 8 quart, heavy-bottomed casserole or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is just smoking. Quickly dredge the oxtail in the flour and sear on all sides until browned, turning with long handled tongs.  Remove the browned oxtail to a plate and set aside.
 
   
 
Step 4: Add the onions, garlic, and shredded carrots to the same pan, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until onions are slightly browned.  
 
 
Step 5: Add the wine, chicken stock, simple red sauce and thyme, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Return the oxtails to the pot, submerging them in the liquid, and return the pot to a boil.  Cover and cook in the oven for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
 
  
 
Step 6: Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the oxtails with long handled tongs.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred into small pieces with a fork.  Discard the bones.  
 
Step 7: With a small ladle, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.  Return the shredded meat to the pot.  Place over medium high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and allow the sauce to reduce to a very thick ragú.  Season with salt and pepper.
 
 
Step 8: In a sauté pan, heat about 3 cups of the ragú.  Add gnocchi or your pasta of choice and toss very gently over medium heat until the gnocchi or pasta is coated with the ragú. 
 
Step 9: Grate the Pecorino or parmesan over each plate.  Serve immediately




Simple Red Cream Sauce




 

Ingredients

  •     4 cups simple red sauce
  •     1/2 cup heavy cream
  •     2 tablespoons fresh basil, loosely chopped



 


Instructions


Step 1: Follow the recipe for simple red sauce.

Step 2: Before ready to serve, add heavy cream to sauce; simmer until cream thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Step 3: Stir in basil and salt to taste. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.




 

Simple Red Sauce for Meatballs





Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 or 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced 
  • 2 cans (29 ounces/each) whole tomatoes (I use canned whole tomatoes in tomato juice and not puree. The can should say "not from concentrate.")
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1-1/2 cups water 
  • salt to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar to counter citric acid in tomatoes
  • fresh basil
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat two to three tablespoons olive oil over medium flame. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft, but not brown. 
 
Step 2: Puree whole tomatoes in a food processor. Strain out the seeds using a food mill or keep the seeds in if you don't have a food mill. Add pureed tomatoes and water to your sauteed onions and garlic. Stir well. 
 
Step 3: Season with salt to taste. Let come to a boil, then add three or four tablespoons of tomato paste. 
 
Step 4: Add basil approximately 10 minutes before taking the sauce off the heat.
 
Step 5: Serve over pasta.
 




Venison Ragu'

I really like venison and I used to make this recipe all the time. For reasons unknown to me, my father, who used to give me an unendless supply of venison, stopped supplying it. For the past 5 years, I've been asking him for some every time he comes to visit and every time I go to visit him in West Virginia.  He would tell me the same thing each time - he didn't have any.  So I decided to take matters in my own hands.   Since I used to get it for free and deer are plentiful, I figured that I could just buy it fairly cheap. So I went to my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, a store that has everything, to attempt to purchase it. Well, while Wegmans had some in stock, the cost was incredible. There was no way I was paying $24.00 for an 8 ounce tenderloin, not when I used to get it for free.  All I can say is if this is the going rate, I can totally understand why it has been scarce these last few years.  So much for taking matters in my own hands.  

 
I was now on a mission to get some venison cheaper than $48.00 per pound. After all, I am originally from West Virginia, and since almost everyone I know in West Virginia owns a gun and hunts, there had to be some venison cheaper than the price at Wegmans.  During a recent visit to West Virginia, I asked around and I struck the jackpot!   Many thanks go to my Dad's friend, Robert Mancuso and his daughter and her husband, Tim and Jerri Rodeheaver, for the venison I used to make the bolognese below.  Tim went hunting the day after Thanksgiving and gave me almost 30 pounds of the best venison I've ever had.  And many thanks to my father for deboning and grinding it for me.
 
  
 
  
 
The venison was superb and the bolognese was delicious and just what I was craving. 
 
Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli: Made in Italy, Food and Stories
 
Makes 8 servings
 

Ingredients 

 
  • 4 pounds of ground venison
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons juniper berries
  • up to 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 to 5 cups of canned whole tomatoes, crushed through a food mill (to remove seeds)
  • 4 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil 
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Take the ground venison out of the fridge and lay it on a tray. Let it come to room temperature, so that it will sear rather than steam when it goes into the pan.
 
Step 2: Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan, add the vegetables, minced garlic, juniper berries, and rosemary, and sweat over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes without allowing it to color (you will need to keep stirring).
 
   
 
Step 3: Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the pan of vegetables, making sure that the meat is covering the base of the pan. Leave for about 5 to 6 minutes, so that the meat sears underneath and heats through completely before you start stirring (otherwise it will ooze protein and liquid and it will steam rather than sear). Be careful not to burn the vegetables. Add a little more oil, if necessary to prevent this from happening.
 
  
 
Step 4: Stir the  meat and vegetables every 4 minutes for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. At this point, the meat is ready to take the wine.
 
    
 
Step 5: Add the wine and let it reduce to virtually nothing, then add tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the entire time. 
 
  
 
Step 6: Add the crushed whole tomatoes with 4 cups of water. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer and cook for about 2 hours, adding water, if necessary from time to time, until you have a thick sauce. Add basil.
 
  
 
Step 7: When you are ready to serve the bolognese sauce, cook your pasta (preferably tagliatelle, pappardelle, or a short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the bolognese sauce to the pasta and toss well, adding some of the cooking water, if necessary to loosen the sauce. 
 
Step 8: Serve with freshly grated Reggiano parmesan cheese.