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Thick Tomato Sauce

Contributed by: NAPSA

Get Beyond the BBQ: Italian Cooking (NAPSA) - When entertaining dinner guests, renowned Chef Michael Chiarello encourages hosts to set themselves apart from the barbecue circuit by serving up a great outdoor Italian meal.

"I'm here to tell you that, contrary to what some people believe, Italian food makes for great summer fare and there are lots of easy ways to delight your dinner guests," Chiarello says.

Chiarello-author of the popular Tra Vigne Cookbook-is host of his own PBS show, Michael Chiarello's Napa, and creator of NapaStyle specialty products.

According to Chiarello, the best time to cook with tomatoes is summer. "Out here in Napa Valley, I like to make huge batches of red sauce at a time when tomatoes are in season," Chiarello says. "That's why I recommend making extra and freezing the leftover sauce in smaller portions in Tupperware so you can enjoy vine-ripe flavor throughout the year."

Chiarello often hears people avoid cooking red sauces because they can be messy to store, particularly because red sauces tend to stain plasticware. According to Chiarello, however, being messy is part of the fun. "And I just found a great new product, Cascade Plastic Booster, that you use in your dishwasher along with dishwashing detergent to remove those pestering red stains and odors from your plasticware," Chiarello says.

"It's made even my oldest Tupperware look like new again."

Chiarello's red sauce recipe and other favorites are currently featured on www.homemadesimple.com.

Ingredients:

  • About 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 3 tablespoons garlic oil
  • 2 cups diced red bell pepper (1/4-inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups diced red onion (1/4-inch dice)
  • Gray salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups double-strength chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons garlic oil) in a storeheavy saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the bell pepper and saute until brown, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, if necessary, and the garlic, and cook until light brown. Add the onion and a pinch of salt (if the pan is dry and the ingredients look as if they might burn, adding salt will release the liquid in the onions), and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to mix well.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, the stock, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce until thick, about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent scorching. Add the butter, oregano, parsley, and basil and stir well. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Use immediately, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate for several days, or freeze for later use.

Serving Size: Makes about 4 cups


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