With our hurried society, we are always trying to conserve on time; thus, I try to respect this need for efficiency with my cooking instructions, where provision of optimum health is also a major focus. My mind is made for details; henceforth, I spell out shortcuts that streamline cooking; this can make a particular recipe look long, but indeed it is concise, with an abundance of clock-conserving treasures.
This quick version of red sauce can be made in just 30 minutes, thus honoring our crowded schedules; it pleases with its added topping of ricotta cheese.
A dear friend always blesses me with gifts from her home, when she visits. I never know what new gadget or food item she will introduce upon her arrival. Several weeks ago, Wanda came bearing homemade ricotta, which she had made in a crock pot, with her suggestion to put it on top of spaghetti sauce. As she cooks for a diabetic challenged husband, she serves just a little gluten-free pasta with lots of red sauce, topped with her ricotta; you may choose similar adjustments. (A 5-star receipt for simple homemade ricotta cheese can be found at http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/homemade-ricotta-cheese-crock-pot-345985)
Discipline is called for in any recipe, whether it be in the kitchen or life, with the constant need for balance between demands and desires. Always we long for the best taste to be left in our mouths, but oh the challenge in allowing the time required for such quality. Here I sacrifice some of the depth of flavor, which can be found in my moderately-more-lengthy instructions for Red Sauce for Pasta or Spaghetti Squash (2017/04/10).
Italian comes to mind when we think of red sauce; tomatoes, however, are a relatively new food in Italy. In the 16th century, conquistadors introduced these to Europe, where they took centuries to become a leading world vegetable. America didn’t fully accept this fruit-it is actually a fruit, not a vegetable-until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a time that simultaneously saw an inundation of Italian immigrants on our shores. For more on this history, see Spicy Sausage and Tomatoes (2017/09/25) and Ropa Vieja (2017/10/09).
If you are wanting a fine-textured red sauce, know that canned tomatoes, unlike fresh tomatoes, usually don’t boil down to a smooth puree, as calcium salts are added by many canners-this calcium firms the cell walls of tomatoes and keeps the pieces in tact. Since these salts interfere with the disintegration process during cooking, be sure to check the labels on all canned whole tomatoes, only buying brands that don’t list calcium, unless a chunky sauce is desired. I use canned tomato sauce here.
Pressured agendas bring loss of strength, while slowing down to smell the roses allows for the discovery of innate gifts, which were positioned by divine ordinance long ago. We get to open these daily, if we but exercise patience.
Reay Tannahill, Food in History (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1988, 1973), p. 206.
Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking (New York: Scribner, 2004, 1984), p. 331.
Quick Pasta with Red Sauce and Ricotta Yields: 2-3 servings. Total prep time: 30 minutes. Note: may double the recipe.
15-oz can tomato sauce (Organic is best, which is only slightly more expensive; available at most supermarkets.)
3/4 tsp dried oregano (Trader Joe’s has an excellent organic bottle for $1.99.)
1 tsp dried basil (Also found at Trader’s.)
3/4 tsp salt (Himalayan, pink, or Real Salt is important for optimum health; an inexpensive fine grind Himalayan salt is available at Costco.)
4 med/lg cloves garlic (For easy prep, use 2 cubes frozen garlic from Trader’s.)
1 tsp oil (Coconut or avocado oil is best, as olive oil is carcinogenic when heated to high temperatures.)
1 med yellow onion, chopped small
2-3 servings of pasta
2 sausage links (Natural sausage is best; I used Fence Line Hot Italian Style here.)
Spray oil (Coconut is best for health; Pam coconut spray oil is available in most supermarkets; our local Winco brand, however, is much cheaper.)
2 tbsp tomato paste (Freeze remaining paste in individual 1/4 c bags, to be thawed conveniently.)
Ricotta cheese for topping
Take ricotta out of refrigerator, to bring to room temperature for serving.
- In a medium saucepan, place tomato sauce and 1/2 can of water, to which you have added seasonings and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to med/low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Heat oil in a sauté pan; sweat onion in hot oil (cook only until translucent); add to sauce.
- Fill a 3-quart saucepan 4/5th’s full of water, to which you have added a small amount of salt and oil (any kind will do). Place over medium heat; when water boils, add pasta and cook for 7 minutes, or until al dente.
- Meanwhile cut sausage diagonally and sauté until light brown, in a frying pan sprayed with oil. When done, add to tomato sauce.
- Slice avocados, set aside.
- When pasta is finished, drain in a colander, rinsing well.
Finish the sauce, by adding tomato paste, stirring until thickened.
- Rinse pasta under hot tap water to warm it. Place pasta on individual plates; pour sauce over top; garnish with large dollop of ricotta and a slice of avocado (see top photo).
- Quick, easy, delightful!