Monday, October 20, 2008

Sugo di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce)

This is for those of you that wanted some recipes. This is for homemade tomato sauce; it takes a little bit of work but it is well worth it.

The directions are a little vague, but here we go.

You need enough tomatoes to fill a two handled pot. Try to use roma and cherry tomatoes. Cut out the tops of the tomatoes and cut in half.* Add 2 onions cut in chunks, a couple of cloves of garlic, and a handful of fresh basil (Tear the leaves, don't cut), and one large carrot-cut in chunks.
Cover the pot and put on medium heat stirring occasionally. Don't add any water or salt; the tomatoes have enough water in them.

After the tomatoes and carrot are soft. Mash through a sieve. I have a thing with a crank handle that looks like a pot with holes in the bottom that mashes the tomatoes, and stuff. (Sorry I have no idea what it is called) Catch all the juice in another pot, and mash till all that's left is skin and seeds. It takes a while and you need a lot of muscle in your arm to crank all the juice and pulp out.

After you finish getting the juice and pulp, put back on medium heat (make sure there are no chunks). Add to taste salt, sugar, olive oil, and more basil (approx. 1/2T. salt, 4T. sugar, 1/2c. oil. More or less to taste). The sauce is ready when it cooks down, and gets more dense. It can be used for pasta or pizza sauce.

*You can also blanch the tomatoes in boiling water, take off the skins and scoop out the seeds. Then instead of mashing the tomatoes through the strainer, if there are no skins/seeds, you can puree in a food processor or blender.

Kicking into gear

Well we have had our plates full the last couple of weekends. Yep, we were eating. The weekend of October 11-12 we had church in Termini on Saturday afternoon, because the pastor's wife's father was retiring from ministry at the church in Palermo on Sunday. Our service on Saturday, was special because Shawn had his first opportunity to speak. He did well, and the pastor was able to take a break. Then we went to Palermo to eat pizza with some friends. They invited us to spend the night, which was a blessing, since we didn't have to make the trip back home. Sunday we went to the retirement service, then had a church dinner afterwards. Now, in Sicily, they are very passionate about their food. We were told "Mangia, mangia" (Eat, eat) many times and your plate stayed filled. (We didn't eat dinner that night.) Everyone was very gracious and welcoming. We had a great weekend and enjoyed the chance to fellowship with good friends. Guess I'll post about last weekend in the next post.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The food here is amazing. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves every time someone invites us to dinner, not to mention the pizzarias, gelaterias, and my personal favorite, the hot cornetti stand. It's a good thing we do a lot of walking or we would be in serious trouble.

You can walk around the corner from our house to the fruit stand, which carries a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, everything from strawberries to cactus fruit to tomatoes for making homemade pasta sauce. Up the street there is a meat store that offers fireroasted chickens, which we have enjoyed several times. There is also a bakery where you can get fresh, hot bread every morning.

By far, our favorite places include: the gelato and the cornetti stands. Gelato is Italian ice cream, but it has a flavor that is unlike the American version. Flavors range from chocolate to pineapple and fruit flavors. The cornetti stand is 30 km away in Palermo, otherwise we would be very regular customers. Cornetti is a big, warm, flakey croissant that you can get different types of fillings in, including nutella.

And then there is nutella, typically a breakfast food, you can spread it on hot bread or dip fruit in it. They also make crepes, very thin sweet pancakes, to put nutella in as well. Nutella is basically the chocolate version of peanut butter, but it is made from hazelnuts instead of peanuts. Currently my favorite food to eat with nutella is strawberries. Buona, fragole! (Good, strawberries)
Suffice it to say, neither of us are starving. I am learning how to cook like an Italian through my gracious language tutor. Crepes with nutella are next on the list. Ciao for now.