Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Warm Glow' Pasta Sauce

This pasta sauce recipe was a figment of my imagination in that I never made it before entering it in a newspaper recipe contest. It was the 3rd time that I entered the annual contest. The first 2 times were not winners, so I conjured up this recipe as a joke. The newspaper is published in a town which had a large number of inhabitants of Italian heritage. I assumed that each family of such a heritage had a family recipe that was traditionally treasured and needed another one like a hole in the head.

After being awarded 2nd Place in the category in which needed to entered by a professional chef who judged that category, I made a batch. It really tasted great. However, here's another aspect of the judging; the judge never made it either and agreed with the ingredient list because he had worked in the Southwestern United States and was familiar with the chiles that are ingredients of chile puree.

Category 4. Entree (Fish, Vegetable, Pasta)

            'Warm Glow' Pasta Sauce 
        1993 Prize Winner   2nd Place

            1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
            1 large onion, coarsely chopped
            2 ribs celery, finely chopped
            4-6 garlic cloves, minced
            2  28 oz. cans tomato puree*
            16 oz. chile puree (recipe follows)
            1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
            2 tsp. dried basil
            1 tsp. dried oregano
            1 tsp. sugar
            salt & black pepper, to taste

            * should contain no herbs and spices

            Saute onion and celery in olive oil using a saucepan large enough to hold all ingredients. Add garlic just as onions are transluscent, and saute 1 minute longer. Add tomato puree and chile puree. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down heat to a simmer. Add parsley, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper and sugar. Simmer for about 1 hour. Add water if sauce gets too thick. Serve over 1 lb. of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions.

Chile Puree:

            2 dried pasilla chilies*
            2 dried guajillo chilies*
            1 medium onion
            2 Tbs. olive oil
            2 Tbs. flour

            * mildly hot chilies available at better supermarkets, Latino stores, or by mail order

            Roast chilies under broiler for about 3 minutes to bring out flavor. Then put them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them, and soak for 1/2 to 1 hour. Reserve water used for soaking. Remove and discard stems from chilies. Cut chilies in pieces. Cut onion into chunks. Put chilies, onion, and reserved water to cover solids in a blender. Blend until smooth and thick. Use judgment when adding water. Heat oil in saucepan. Add flour to oil and whisk till smooth. Add blended chilies and onion to saucepan, stir until all ingredients well mixed. simmer for about 5 minutes. Chile puree may be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.

1993 Times Herald Recipe Contest Entry

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