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FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

This is a super quick approach to making a fresh tomato sauce. I wouldn’t give it the credit of a pomodoro sauce but if you love the fresh flavors of tomatoes and basil, this is a great go-to recipe for all sorts of dishes. This will always taste better the next day just like most sauces do. Sure canned tomato sauce is great, but some companies add so much sugar and other crap in it that’s completely unnecessary. Not only that but you really can’t compare quality from fresh to canned. It’s a matter or preference and what you plan to make with the sauce.

One of my favorite quick meals to make with the sauce is slicing a smoked chicken Italian style sausage like Aidells, saute it in a large pan with some leeks and simmer the fresh tomato sauce in it. Serve over pasta. You’ll have tons for leftovers too. Feel free to add any other of your favorite fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, marjarom and rosemary. It’s that much more yummier!

 

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FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
serves well with 1lb of pasta
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and run it until everything is well combined.
  2. Pour the sauce into a pan over medium and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more salt to taste.

SIMPLE PESTO

This is a simple traditional pesto with a little bit of fresh lemon juice. I’m not a purist whatsoever and find that most traditional pesto’s need a little bit of zing to freshen up the heaviness of the extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts. So this version is my own go-to traditional pesto that I love to use on all sorts of things. It’s perfect with chicken, shrimp or your favorite white fish even better, serve it with either of those mixed into pasta. OH! On pizza too… as you can see the possibilities are endless if you dare to be creative. Enjoy!


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SIMPLE PESTO
Servings
cup
Ingredients
Servings
cup
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a dry skillet on low-medium heat, toast the pine nuts by stirring frequently until they’re golden brown and you can smell the aroma. Set them aside to cool.
  2. Place the pine nuts and the rest of the ingredients except for the extra virgin olive oil into a food processor. Turn it on until everything is combined then put it on low to slowly pour the olive oil in. Add more or less until the pesto is loose and smooth.

ITALIAN STYLE SAUSAGE HOAGIE

Gourmet-style meals don’t always require a lot of time and this recipe proves it. In about 15-20 minutes you an make this for those days you want fantastic food but don’t want to go out. So I found these awesome Italian style chicken sausages by Aidells (Aidells.com) that taste amazing. You can find them at pretty much any major grocery store now. They may not be the cheapest sausage out there but you are paying for quality, taste and an improved ingredient list compared to many other brands. It’s not in the least bit dry nor does it taste bland like chicken actually does but what’s great about these is they aren’t overly greasy.

If you like a little more spicy than the average joe, then add more sriracha. Taste the gourmet mayo as you make it to get it exactly how you like it. Also, I love having a fresh component in my dishes which is why the fresh basil in the mayo goes amazing with the flavors in the sausage. And of course, who doesn’t like peppers and onions with their sausage? I mean, it’s a perfect pairing, you can’t go wrong and it’s a MUST. If you don’t like green bell peppers, use red instead. Heck! Add whatever you want, it’s yours!

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ITALIAN STYLE SAUSAGE HOAGIE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. While grilling your sausages saute the bell pepper, onions, salt, and pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat until they soften and start to caramelize.
  2. Meanwhile in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaisse, sriracha, garlic, and fresh chopped basil together. Set aside.
  3. To assemble, place a generous layer of the spicy basil mayo on one side of the hoagie roll, put the sausage in and top with peppers and onions.

HOMEMADE MARINARA

There is no need to keep buying pre-made jarred marinara when making your own is a no brainer! Trust me on this. If you’re like me and use marinara almost all year round for a multitude of things then this will make your life easier. You’ll also be happy knowing that your marinara isn’t loaded in added sugar and some other random crap that doesn’t belong in there. This recipe can make about two pint-sized mason jars and can store them for later use.

I use this marinara for my Braciole & Italian Sausage that many of you have gone crazy over. Even my Minestrone Soup and if you want in the Mediterranean Meatloaf! This is really the base for a lot of my tomato related sauces and other Italian dishes that I’ll be sharing in the coming days. But let this recipe again encourage you to take away and add the things you love most to make your very own version. Buon appetito!

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HOMEMADE MARINARA
Servings
pints
Ingredients
Servings
pints
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large spot, drizzle the bottom with olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, salt, and pepper for about 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. Add the basil, stir for a minute then add the can of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir everything together thoroughly and let simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour or until it’s thickened. Stir every so often.
  3. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and add more salt to taste.
Recipe Notes

If you like a more smooth texture to the marinara, you can cool it and pour the sauce into a blender or food processor to your desired texture. Make a day ahead for better flavor.

CAPRESE CUPS

This snack/appetizer speaks for itself. There are so many reasons why you could make these! They’re healthy, clean, fresh, quick and extremely simple to make while your starving guests are waiting for main course. It’s a fun quick snack as well. You can serve them straight out of the oven or at room temperature and take them to a party. The simplicity in this concept is great for any casual setting and special occasion. If you don’t want to bake them just simply bake the wonton cups alone and add all the ingredients afterwards. I hope you love them!


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CAPRESE CUPS
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside placement of a cupcake pan.
  2. Brush olive oil on top of each wonton wrapper and carefully place each one into the cupcake pan with the olive oiled side up.
  3. Gently press the mozzarella balls with a paper towel to remove excess water. Place two halves of mozzarella into each wonton cup and two cherry tomato halves on top of the mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 375 F degrees for 7 minutes or until the edges appear golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top then garnish with some fresh basil.