I was looking for a meal to serve that would have a Halloween theme when I came across these wonderful orange and black Italian-made farfalle pasta. I bought the pasta not knowing how I would prepare and serve it. It just looked so fun and season-appropriate that I couldn’t pass the pasta by! Served with locally-made sun-dried tomato and pork sausage tossed in a rich and flavourful homemade marinara sauce, and topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, this pasta dish was a real hit. Add a freshly toasted garlic and cheese roll and a glass of red wine, and this meal is easily dressed up.
I am very lucky as we have a great little meat shop in Charlottetown, KJL Meats, co-located with the Riverview Country Market on Riverside Drive. Using locally-produced pork , they make several varieties of wonderful sausages onsite. The variety I chose for this dish was sun-dried tomato and I was not disappointed – it was really good! They tell me their sausages are all natural with no additives or preservatives. I also dropped by our local “Liquid Gold” store and picked up two new products (will soon need extra cupboards to store all these oils and balsamic vinegars in!) — a bottle of oregano white balsamic vinegar and one of organic Tuscan herb infused olive oil were added to my growing collection! Both were used in the marinara sauce and I also cooked the sausage in a small amount of the Tuscan olive oil. Freshness matters and I find their products are super-fresh.
My recipe for the marinara sauce is my own creation. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients — it takes them all to make the flavour. I like to roast the vegetables for the sauce because it gives them a distinct and rich flavour that I would classify as “full-bodied” in any dish. After they are roasted, I break them up loosely with a potato masher. There is no need to worry about getting them crushed completely at this point since that will occur later during the purée stage. All that needs to happen at this point is that they are crushed enough to allow their juices and flavours to permeate the sauce while it cooks. I like to use the immersion blender to purée the sauce in the stock pot. I tend to like the sauce a bit on the chunky side so I don’t purée it completely smooth but that is a matter of personal taste. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor or blender can, of course, be used – just make sure you let the mixture cool before placing it in the processor or blender. The sauce takes a bit of time to make but it is good (and the house smells divine in the process!). This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups but it is easily doubled. The sauce also freezes really well which makes meal preparation quick and easy on a busy evening. I cooked the sun-dried tomato pork sausage, then sliced it into thin slices (about 1/8th inch thick) before tossing it in the sauce and serving it over the pasta. The sausage could also be removed from the casing and scrambled fried instead of being sliced.
This was a fun dish to create and even more fun to eat, particularly with the orange and black Halloween pasta!
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Roasted Marinara Sauce
By October 30, 2012Published:
- Yield: 3 1/2 cups
A rich, thick, flavourful tomato sauce that is a great accompaniment to pasta or pizza
- 1/4 red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 green pepper, chopped
- 3/4 stick celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- 1/4 parsnip, sliced 1/4
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4-6 small button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch nutmeg
- smidgeon cardamon
- 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- smidgeon cloves
- pinch red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 1 /2 tbsp. oregano balsamic vinegar
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut vegetables into 1/2" - 1" pieces. Slice the parsnip slightly thinner. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat vegetables. Place on tin foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes until vegetables are slightly fork tender and edges of vegetables start to char slightly. Peel garlic. Transfer vegetables and garlic to stock pot and, with a potato masher, loosely break up the vegetable chunks.
- Add remainder of ingredients. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, purée sauce to desired consistency. (Alternatively, let mixture cool and transfer to food processor to purée.)
- Toss with pasta (and meat, if using) or use as pizza sauce. Freezes well.
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