I love Italian fare. Anyone who’s read my blog or, better yet, who knows me, will attest to the fact that I was meant to be Italian. What?! There are Italian Jews…my kids are proof of that!
Yesterday Carlo and I took the girls, along with 50+ empty jars, and 3 bushels of ripe roma tomatoes, and we headed out to Nonno (grandpa) and Nonna’s (grandma) house to make sugo (sauce).
Let me explain - I grew up on Ragu sauce from the store, and thought it was delicious…the operative word being “thought”. Once I met Carlo (22 years ago), I learned the error of my ways. He invited me over to his house for dinner one night, and when I asked if I could bring anything, he said sauce and bread. Looking back now, it makes no sense - why would he ask a nice Jewish girl who couldn’t cook to bring those items? I think it must have been a test, which I failed miserably! I brought a jar of Ragu and a loaf of Wonder bread. Seriously – please stop laughing – I did! He took one look at my offerings and laughed at me. And so it was that I became the Eliza Doolittle to his Henry Higgins!
Nowadays, you will not find a jar of Ragu anywhere near our property, let alone in the pantry. We follow the centuries’ old Italian tradition of making sauce from scratch. Carlo and I have reached a point that we need to make the sauce on our own – our kids love it so much that they will eat it like soup – having a side bowl of sugo with their pasta dinner – and we told his parents that we were going it alone this year. My mother-in-love convinced us that we need to have a practice run while under their watchful, supervising eyes. And this is why we packed everything up and went off to Nonna’s.
My wonderful husband has graciously agreed to let me post his photos on my blog and FB page for all to see. So, please join us on our pictorial journey of Sugo Making 101. B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!
|Ready, set, tomatoes!|
Step 1: sort tomatoes from bushel, rinse.
|Step 2: slice tomatoes, removing any bad (spoiled, NOT marked) spots.|
|Step 3: assemble tomato grinder (under our supervisor's watchful eye).|
|My mother-in-love lends a hand, abandoning her supervisory role to get down to work.|
|Becca and Nonna picking basilico (basil) from the backyard "Farm".|
|OK...tomatoes are ready for crushing.|
Step 5: Using a sauce pan, scoop tomatoes into grinder for crushing.
|Setting up the jars, checking the seals and placing a basil leaf in each jar.|
|Jars are ready for sauce...thanks girls!|
|Run 2 or 3...you can see the difference in the texture of the residual tomatoes, much drier than the first run.|
|63 jars of sauce!|