I guess I’m a little late to the table in appreciating Marcella Hazan’s four ingredient tomato sauce recipe that took the internet by storm a few years ago but what the heck, I just made it and it’s rather brilliant so here you go.
Although I have Marcella’s book I first came across the recipe in my copy of “Genius Recipes” from my favorite food blog Food 52. If you don’t have a copy of it, you can click on the little picture below to get your own copy!
The original recipe calls for 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (skins removed) or 2 cups of canned Italian peeled tomatoes, 5 tablespoons of butter, 1 medium onion peeled and cut in half and a little salt as necessary.
You simply put the tomatoes, butter, onion and salt into a saucepan and cook uncovered on a low simmer for ~45 minutes with the occasional stir and then serve the sauce (onion removed) with your favorite cooked pasta.
This was the first time I’d tried this recipe so I didn’t want to mess around with it too much. I’m not really one for measuring out stuff (probably the reason I suck at baking) so I used a 28oz can of Muir Glen Organic whole peeled tomatoes, 1 stick of unsalted butter (so I could control the salt), half of a really large onion, 1 slightly crushed garlic clove and a large pinch of Maldon sea salt and sugar. The basil plant on my windowsill is on its last legs so I threw in a little chopped basil towards the end.
With only the occasional bash and squish of the tomatoes, after 1 hour I had the most delicious, rich tomato sauce. Like must stop ripping pieces of bread off and dipping them in the sauce good. I also chopped off the little green bits at the top of each canned tomato.
This would be a great recipe to scale up if you have a bunch of friends over and you’re looking for an affordable yet yummy pasta dish. Next time I plan on adding a few red chili flakes.
This is a great recipe to have in your back pocket when your husband calls you as he leaves the golf course to inform you he’s invited friends over for drinks and they’ll all be there in about 15 minutes.
In between doing a fast little tidy up you can whip up this tasty little snack and people will think you’re Martha Stewart. I say Martha Stewart because a version of this recipe was originally on the cover of the Martha Stewart Living Magazine a few years ago.
Martha’s version is named Tomato Ombre but as I only had red tomatoes on this particular day I was ombre-less. You could also consider this a sort of lazy or rustic Bruschetta as it’s essentially grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt and tomatoes.
Ideally you’d split, then toast your foccacia or ciabatta bread on the grill but I threw mine under the broiler as I had enough stuff to do without firing up the grill. Watch it closely as you don’t want to burn it – just a light golden color is good.
Take a large garlic clove (no need to peel it) and cut it in half. Rub the cut surface of the garlic clove all over the warm toasted bread – it’s amazing how much garlic flavor this transfers. Drizzle with some good olive oil and a little sea salt. Thinly slice your ripe tomatoes and layer them on a bread. Add a little more olive oil and sea salt. Add basil from your herb garden if the slugs haven’t eaten it all like they did to most of mine this year. Cut the tomato toast or bruschetta into wedges and pour yourself a large glass of wine so you can make sparkling conversation with your unexpected guests when they arrive in 5 minutes.
Last week I found myself in Charleston, South Caroline for a workshop. Prior to flying out I spent a few days doing my research and came up with a short-list of must-visit restaurants whilst in Charleston:
Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar
Once at the workshop it became very obvious that we’d be working late into the night and there wouldn’t really be the opportunity to indulge in my food escapades. Regardless, I had to try at least one of the places on my list and so I skipped the complimentary breakfast provided by our hotel (the recently opened Hyatt Hotel on King St) and made my way to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.
This tiny little space with a long marble counter to perch at, can be found at 476 1/2 King Street. Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is open 8am – 2pm every day (with late night hours of 10pm – 2am on Friday and Saturday) and in addition to the biscuits they also have the best 80’s music playlist. Walk in, wait in the usually speedy line, give your name and your biscuit order and just a few minutes later you’ll be the recipient of a perfect little brown paper box holding biscuit nirvana.
Classic buttermilk, cheese & chive or shortcake biscuits are just $3, filled biscuits with country ham, black pepper bacon, blackberry or cinnamon are just $4. But wait….for $5 you can get three biscuits. Make sure to check out the daily specials written out on a large piece of brown paper.
On the first day I chose a country ham biscuit. The warm biscuit managed to be both light and dense at the same time and had the perfect filling of savory, hearty, country ham. It was hours before I could even thing about eating again. On subsequent days the thought of instant oatmeal or a granola bar couldn’t hold a candle to these tempting little morsels so this became my go-to breakfast spot. I had great plans to try a different biscuit but found myself unable to resist the temptation of the heavenly country ham! If you’re in Charleston you must, must, must visit and try a biscuit!
The rest of the week flew by in a blur of hastily grabbed meals after class let out at 8 or 9pm but I have to also mention Jenni’s ice cream also on King Street. What I’m about to say might not make me very popular but I’m not a big ice cream fan. I know – sacrilege! However a friend dragged me in and I figured I might as well try something. I chose a chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwich and was frankly blown away. The dark rich chocolate dipped in hazelnuts was sandwiched between the lightest hazelnut macaroons for a crazy good ice cream experience!
I guess I’ll just have to go back to Charleston to hit up my original list! What’s your favorite restaurant in Charleston? What else should I add to the list?