This is the first time I’m writing about the monthly cookbook club that I’m a part of. Olga, Julia, and I get together once a month to cook from one cookbook.
So far, we’ve done Ottolenghi’s Plently, Ina Garten’s Foolproof, and Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.
For August, we were in for a special treat. We got advanced copies of Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Vegetables of Italy.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of her book and your are in DC, you are in luck! Domenica will be at Salt and Sundry in Union Market tomorrow September 7th from 1-2:30pm signing copies of her book.
The book is full of fabulous recipes and gorgeous images. Domenica’s writing draws you in, and Sang An’s photographs make your mouth water. I especially like the introductory vegetable essentials section, which is like a glossary of vegetables.
For our cookbook lunch, Olga made Warm Citrus Scented Olives with Ricotta Salata and the Swiss Chard and Spinach Ravioli Nudi. Julia made the Chickpea Salad with Red Onions and Lemon Zest and the Tuscan Kale Frittata. And I made the Fresh Tomato Sauce, and the Winter Squash Panna Cotta.
Here are some instagram photos of our meal.
Light and Tangy Chickpea Salad with Red Onions and Lemon Zest (p. 91) and Addictive Warm Citrus-Scented Olives with Ricotta Salata (p. 93)
Hearty Tuscan Kale Frittata (p. 183)
Soft and Fluffy Swiss Chard and Spinach Ravioli Nudi (pp.135-136) with Fresh Tomato Sauce (p. 65)
Rich and Creamy Winter Squash Panna Cotta (p. 248)
Here is the recipe for Fresh Tomato Sauce, which went perfectly with the fluffy and light nudi. I like Domenica’s method of grating the tomatoes instead of the usual method of plunging the tomatoes in boiling water, then in an ice bath, and then peeling them. I thought grating the tomatoes would take a long time, but it only took me about 6 minutes. That’s much better than waiting for water to boil and scalding your fingers with hot tomatoes when trying to remove the skins!
Fresh Tomato Sauce
(Slightly adapted from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)
• 3 lbs ripe plum tomatoes
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup finely diced red onion (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• Fine sea salt
• 5 large basil leave, torn
1. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
2. Grate each tomato half with a box grater, using the large holes. Hold the tomato flat against the grater as you grate it. You should have only the tomato skin left. Transfer the grated tomatoes and any juices to a bowl. Squeeze the tomato skins over the bowl to release any remaining juices. Discard the skins. I used rubber gloves to get a better grip on the tomatoes. And also because I was afraid of cutting my fingers.
3. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook until the onions are just soft. About 8 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer.
4. Let the tomatoes simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until thickened. Stir from time to time to prevent the sauce from burning. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. I added about 2 teaspoons of sugar to counterbalance the acidity of the tomatoes.
5. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil. Refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes about 3.5 cups.
Excellent post! That was a wonderful time as always.
I second Olga! Thank you for this thoughtful post. The pictures are so pretty. It’s nice to have someone in my corner on the issue of grating tomatoes. Some people roll their eyes when I tell them about it but it really does give the tomato pulp a perfect texture for sauce. Thanks for the shout-out. Glad you are enjoying the book. xo