Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion aka Almost Marcella’s Sauce

Marcella’s original version of this sauce is one of the great tomato sauces.  She uses canned tomatoes and leaves the onion unchopped then throws everything together to boil into a sauce.  It’s wonderful and I encourage you to try it.

This sauce is how I make it when I use fresh tomatoes (although you can use canned for mine as well).  The main difference is the onion.  I love soft cooked onions and like to have them remain in the sauce.

Pistachio Pesto


pistachio pesto

Pistachio Pesto

Pesto means “paste” and can be made of nearly anything, but I love nut based pestos.  For this one the star isn’t a soft herb, like basil or parsley.  Instead it’s pure pistachio nuts with a few garlic cloves, some salt and parmesan and enough olive oil to give me the texture I want.  Nut pestos can be assertive and the texture quite thick, so it’s important to “lighten” them before tossing with pasta with just a bit of the pasta cooking water.  I wait until the pasta is boiling and has given the water the gift of a bit of starch.  Then I start adding the cooking water one tablespoon at a time to the pesto until I reach a texture that will just nap the pasta without overwhelming it or any additional ingredients I’m adding.

I was inspired to make this pesto by a bag of the very rare Sicilian Bronte pistachios I bought from Brett Ottolenghi’s Artisanal Foods in Las Vegas.

Don’t skimp on the quality of oil you use.  I had a bottle of Cappezzana Oil from the famed Tuscan estate and put it to good use. This is exactly what these high end oils are good for.

Sicilian Bronte Pistachios


Fresh Egg Pasta

making fresh pasta

I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy.  Nearly every home cook I met used the same proportion, 100 gms of flour to 1 egg so that’s how I make my pasta.  Sometimes if I want it really rich I’ll add a couple of extra yolks.  I also make it the old fashioned way a la fontana, but for a newbie it’s much easier to simply mix it all together in a bowl.

I love rolling the dough by hand using a super long thin dowel but I also have a double wide manual rolling machine and a home sized electric rolling machine. I recommend buying the Atlas manual pasta machine.  You can also use it to make crackers and matzo.