- 2 chicken breast halves or 1 cut-up whole chicken
- 2-3 carrots or 1/2 bag baby carrots
- 1 onion
- 2 – 3 teaspoons tomato sauce (for color)
- 1/2 lb. favorite pastina
- salt & pepper
Wash chicken and put in a large stock pot. Cover chicken with cool water until completely submerged. Add tomato sauce (and 1/4 tsp dill if desired). Peel carrots and cut into 1-inch size pieces. Add to pot (along with optional celery).
Peel and quarter onion. Add to pot and slowly boil all ingredients until chicken is cooked, about 30 – 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and remove skin from chicken. Remove meat from bones in small pieces; set aside.
Remove carrots when cooked to desired softness. Add salt & pepper to soup and cook a little more (15 – 30 minutes). Strain soup into a large container (removing onion pieces) and add chicken and carrots back in. Refrigerate soup.
When ready to use, skim off accumulated fat and reheat soup on medium flame. Add cooked pastina (small pasta) just before serving. Salt and pepper to desired taste.
Read my observations.
This is a food mill. Hypnotic, isn’t it?
See, I told you: five ingredients. Unless you want to count salt & pepper separately, but that’s just silly.
Anyway, the key to tomato sauce (“marinara” is something different in my book, even though most places and companies confuse the term) are the tomatoes. While that may be obvious, using canned tomatoes may not be.
Fresher is not always better, especially when it comes to tomatoes. Preparing fresh tomatoes to use in sauce takes an awful long time, a lot of work, and even then, will usually not come together as well as the canned kind.
I have a picture of Rosa tomatoes here, but you can use any kind, as long they’re Italian. I know, it’s snobby, but the Italian ones really are the best.
The tomatoes are usually packed in puree, and should come with basil. Make sure they do not have tomato paste (Death to tomato paste!) or are Italian style (meaning they are probably from New Jersey, not Italy: actually two different places, as opposed to what cable TV leads you to believe).
On a side note, my friend Lou maintains that the onions are dispensable, Sicilian addition. I can’t bring myself to try it another way.
- 1 32 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes (with basil leaf)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
Chop onion and saute slowly in olive oil. Halfway through, add sliced garlic. Cook onion and garlic until soft, but not browned.
Meanwhile, empty tomatoes into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
When onions and garlic are done, add them to the tomatoes and position a food mill over the now-emptied saucepan. Put tomato mixture through food mill and strain through.
Cook slowly for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your taste. During last few minutes, add salt and pepper.
Read my observations.
Nothing like a little hyperbole to start your engines!
Anyway, I’m not going to pretend that homemade sauce will ever be equaled by a bottled sauce. (By the way, here’s my recipe.) However, if the sauce in question has the same ingredients and tastes oodles better than that average Ragu swill, well, you’ve got something special on your hands.
When, during the course of human events, one must actually used a bottled sauce, you should look for not more than seven ingredients:
1. Tomatoes (duh!)
2. Olive oil
6. Salt (preferably Sea)
Everything should be fresh. But, even more important is what should not be in the sauce: tomato paste. When you see this on a bottle, go home and cry. You’re better off frying up some tomatoes in olive oil with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
Personally, I’ve always been a Rao‘s man. Great sauce, no doubt. But this new one is a contender and the price is a few bucks cheaper than the big R.
It’s called Paesana Marinara and it just blew my mind.