It’s a summer for burn
There’s this Bern….
And the ever-present Sun-burn
The good on the Grill burn – more like a char, really
And then there’s
Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.
I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.
Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..
We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions
Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.
He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.
A heavy pan to burn the paste in.
Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.
Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.
There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?
Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.
The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.
Stir, stir, stirring.
It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.
Stirring fairly vigorously.
Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.
Stirring, stirring, stirring.
The color changes.
This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.
Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.
After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.
He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.
Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.
It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.
Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.
Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.
Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).
Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.
Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)
2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.
Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.
Fry 2 cans tomato paste.
Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.
Add to sauce.
Add water (2 cans or to own taste).
You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.
Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.
It always tastes better the next day.
* italics added by Rick
I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.
A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.
And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.
In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee