Homemade marinara sauce

Homemade marinara sauce
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (see Kitchen Notes)
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (optional)
1 28-ounce can peeled whole Italian tomatoes (see Kitchen Notes)
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (also optional)
12 ounces dry pasta, cooked to package directions (I used spaghetti)
1. Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-low flame. Swirl olive oil and butter together in pot until butter is melted and fats are combined. Add onion and a pinch of salt, and sweat, stirring frequently. After 5 minutes, add garlic and oregano (the fragrance will be wonderful). Cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently and lowering heat if necessary. You don’t want the aromatics to brown or burn; you just want the onion to be very soft.
2. If you’re adding sausage, brown it now in a separate skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium flame, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. You don’t want it crispy brown, just not pink. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
3. When onions have softened, add tomatoes and their juices to the Dutch oven. Using a hand masher, break up the whole tomatoes. (You can crush them by hand in a bowl before starting to cook, if you prefer, but the masher is quicker and less messy – also, any juices you end up washing off your hands are juices that don’t end up in the sauce.) If you’ve cooked some sausage, add it to the pot now. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
4. Cook the sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. About halfway through the process, remove it from the heat and, using an immersion blender, blend the sauce to the desired mix of smooth and chunky. Don’t overdo this – you want some texture and some chunks. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pulse (don’t purée) in a food processor. Resume cooking until the sauce is somewhat thickened.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Time it so the pasta is a minute or two shy of al dente when the sauce is done. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine, adding pasta water a bit at a time if it seems dry. Cook for another minute or two to finish pasta and let it absorb some sauce.

6. Divide among four shallow pasta bowls and top with some Parmesan, if desired. Serve.

Erbazzone Reggiano / Vegetable Pie

                                          Paul Waiter Ricca Stretcher Trial 1970 Chicago

Serve 12-16
2 sheets of puff pastry, commercially purchased, about 1-1/2 pounds
For filling
10 oz. pancetta, chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onions, chopped fine
3 pounds fresh spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens combined, cooked
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, boiled mashed
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
2 medium eggs, beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat pancetta with oil, and cook for 10 minutes, until the pancetta has released all the white particles.
Add garlic, stir well. Continue cooking for additional 5 minutes. Add onion, blend well. Cook for 5 more minutes until soft.
Stir in the poached greens well squeezed of their water. Blend well with the cooked ingredients, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
While cooling, add the eggs and Parmigiano to the filling. Season the filling with salt and black pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg.
Fill the puff pastry sheet. Pinch the edges, or seal them with a fork. Brush top with egg and milk mix for glaze. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 325 F for 15 minutes. Cool slightly, and serve.