comscore Recipe: 1 sauce, 4 meals | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Crave

Recipe: 1 sauce, 4 meals

  • NEW YORK TIMES
                                With the addition of a few extra ingredients, one simple sauce can be transformed into four different meals and two versatile condiments.

    NEW YORK TIMES

    With the addition of a few extra ingredients, one simple sauce can be transformed into four different meals and two versatile condiments.

The key to a rich, nuanced tomato sauce is time. That’s the one thing most of us don’t have a lot of during the week, but making a large batch of tomato sauce on the weekend, then freezing it in small portions can set you up for success.

With this easy five-ingredient tomato sauce in your freezer, you’ve got the foundation of four satisfying dinners that come together fast: a hearty chickpea stew, a 20-minute meat ragù, cheesy tomato polenta, a spicy cauliflower curry. As a bonus you also get and two condiments: a vinaigrette and a quick salsa.

THE TOMATO SAUCE

In a food processor or blender, puree 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice. (For the purest flavor, use whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice, but diced, crushed or passata will do.)

In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup extra- virgin olive oil over medium-low. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely softened and lightly golden, about 8 minutes.

Stir in 1 tablespoon minced garlic until fragrant, 1 minute, then add the pureed tomatoes, 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and bring to a simmer. Partly cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 50 minutes. Season to taste with salt. (Makes 5 cups.)

To freeze, cool the sauce completely and portion in resealable plastic bags or plastic containers, in 1- or 2-cup portions. The sauce will keep in the freezer for up to six months. To defrost, place the sauce in the refrigerator overnight.

If you’re in a rush, run the sealed container under hot water to release the frozen sauce, then transfer the block to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 2-minute increments, stirring, until thawed.

20-MINUTE MEAT RAGU

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, and 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 pound ground beef or pork, season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 3 minutes.

Add 2 cups thawed tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until ragu is well blended and saucy, about 5 minutes. Serve over pasta. Serves 4.

CREAMY TOMATO AND PARMESEAN POLENTA

In a large saucepan, bring 3-1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme to a boil.

Slowly whisk in 1 cup quick-cooking polenta until smooth. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, whisking frequently, until thickened and tender, about 8 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup thawed tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Divide into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with more Parmesan and black pepper. Serves 2 to 4.

SPICY CAULIFLOWER CURRY

In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup neutral oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes.

Stir in 2 tablespoons minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes; stir until well blended, 1 minute.

Add 2 cups water, 1-1/2 cups thawed tomato sauce, 2 cups cauliflower florets, 1-1/2 cups 1-inch-diced potatoes and 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots; and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium-low until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup frozen peas and simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro or scallions and serve over rice with lime wedges. Serves 4.

TOMATO-CHICKPEA STEW WITH WILTED GREENS

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup thinly sliced onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves and 5 cups chopped kale or spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Add 2 cups thawed tomato sauce, 1 cup water, 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until stew is thickened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, rice or with crusty bread. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 2 to 4.

Nutritional information unavailable.

CONDIMENTS

>> Tomato-Shallot Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup thawed tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons minced shallot, 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, 1 small grated garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk well. Serve over salad greens, or drizzle over grilled steak, roasted chicken or sauteed fish. Makes 1 cup.

>> Quick Salsa: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup thawed tomato sauce, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion or shallot, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh chili. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Makes 1-1/4 cups.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up