Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gordie Johnson's Weekly Tomato Sauce

A few weeks ago I had the privileged to interview Canadian rock legend Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar. During the interview, Gordie told me that his kids love this sauce and he makes it weekly so when he's out on the road, the kids have a delicious homemade meals that their Dad made ready in the to go for the week. As soon as he shared this recipe with me, I made a trip to my favourite Italian store to stock up on ingredients.  This sauce is every bit as delicious as it sounds, and I can't wait to make it again next week with a bit of the secret ingredient ;)!  Thanks Gordie for sharing this awesome recipe with us!  

- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dry chili flakes
- 2 anchovies
- 8 - 12 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
- 2 handfuls of fresh basil
- 1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste 
- 1 LARGE 100 oz can of Italian, San Marzzano tomatoes
- Coarse sea salt
- Black pepper
[ a small portion of last week's weekly sauce ]
- 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter

In a large sauce pot, pour enough olive oil to cover bottom.  

Heat to medium for a few minutes [ don't let it get hot enough to smoke.]

Add a few shakes of hot chili flakes and the anchovies. The anchovies will dissolve
into the hot oil almost instantly. They do not make the sauce fishy, they add a complex
salty component.

Add garlic. Cloves cut in half [ no smaller .] Large pieces of garlic will be mellower
than chopped garlic.

As soon as the garlic begins to blister and look slightly toasted, add chopped basil.

When the basil has turned dark green and kind of translucent in the hot oil, add the tomato paste and stir to coat all ingredients.

Stir gently and continuously until it begins to thicken and caramelize.

All of this happens pretty quickly, so stay attentive. If you scorch it at any stage, you are starting over.

Now add tomatoes and stir well. A pinch of coarse salt and ground pepper will help to break down the tomatoes.

Once the tomatoes begin to simmer, turn the heat to low / med low and partially cover.

The sauce should simmer all day. The longer the better really. I start at about 9:30am
for dinner at 6:30pm.

If you are making this for the first time, bravo. Next week you will posses the magic ingredient. Adding a bit of last week's sauce after the tomato paste stage is culinary alchemy.

Later, when you are preparing your pasta, scoop a few spoonfuls of the white foamy starch that gathers at the top of the boiling pasta water and stir into to your sauce.

I also recommend adding a full table spoon of unsalted butter to the sauce just before serving, because why not? 

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