Everyone loves comfort food.
Fall brings us feelings of home and hearth. Cool weather, beautiful autumn colors, and comfort food.
One of my friends shared this story with me and I thought it was so heartwarming. It's the essence of comfort food. Food made with love.
My friend is Italian. As a little girl she traveled from Italy by boat to come to America, landing in New Orleans. Visions of a small slender girl with chocolate brown braids come to mind. Her handmade dress was almost threadbare but she was filled with hope of a new land, and memories that she would carry with her. Nettie (Antoinette), would often invite me over and cook her grandmother's Sicilian Sauce and tell stories of her youth.
She recalls many times where she would run in to her grandmother's kitchen for a hug, and her Nonna would be at the stove stirring a big pot of sauce for their dinner. When she was older her Nonna began to teach her how to cook. The old fashioned way. From scratch. Using your taste and senses and love to create a dish. Nettie told me of her Nonna standing in the kitchen, full or smiles, wearing her old ruffled apron, and singing while she cooked. She said that a beautiful song helps the food sing as well!
Nettie loved her Nonna. You could see it in her eyes, in her voice, and in her smile.
I was very fortunate to have been able to get to know Nettie and to learn some of her family secrets. Nettie was in her 80's when I met her and had such a spunky personality! Something a young girl coming to America needs to go forward with her new life. I believe it's true about the singing because her food was fabulous...I sing in my kitchen now.
So let me share with you Nettie's Nonna's Sicilian Sauce. It features her Sicilian Seasoning that I posted several days ago. You can find the recipe here. It's a versatile red sauce that can be used in many, many ways. Obviously my first reaction is to spoon this over some nice, tender pasta. YUM! I've updated this recipe a bit with the use of a food processor for ease, but you can still make it the original way. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you Nettie!
So let's make Sicilian Sauce.
Sometime the simplest recipes are the most tasty things! This one is that way. Simple, quick, but full of flavor.
So help your self to a can of San Marzano tomatoes. I use the whole ones. Make sure to use the good stuff, which is San Marzano. These are best tomatoes for flavor, and make the tastiest sauce...straight from Italy. (If you want to use fresh Roma tomatoes you can. Just about 1 3/4 pounds.)
Place the tomatoes in your food processor.
Pulse the tomatoes. I use the pulse so I can watch them and obtain the chunkiness or texture that I like. I leave mine a little bit chunky.
Place the pureed tomatoes in a large saucepan and add the Sicilian Seasoning.
This step is a must! You can find the recipe here.
Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 20 min to let the flavors meld together.
More recipes using this wonderful sauce to come in future posts!
adapted from Nettie's family recipe
1 28oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes5 tsp. Sicilian seasoning
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
In a food processor, add the can of whole tomatoes. (Nettie used fresh whole tomatoes that she crushed with her hands.) Pulse until desired consistency of chopped tomatoes is reached.
Place in a large saucepan. Add seasoning and olive oil. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.