Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Cooking Tip of the Week (7/17/2011)

Posted by Bill Abruzzo on July 21, 2011 at 10:40 PM


Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish


 

Many recipes tell you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish.


 

Tomato paste should be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. It should be added immediately after the aromatics are sautéed in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. As the dollop of tomato paste sizzles, press down on it with the back of a wooden spoon to flatten and spread it out. After the tomato paste has cooked, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew.

 

Categories: Cooking Tips

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1 Comment

Reply Bill Abruzzo
2:24 AM on August 10, 2011 
3 weeks have past, and no comments on this! I thought for sure some of the "old school" Italians would get a kick out of this tip. Isn't this how any old style "Sunday Gravy" begins?? After browning the meatballs, sausage, braciole and pork ribs, the tomato paste hits the frying pan and sizzles away!

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Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month


Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients


 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

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My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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