Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cooking with Kristin: Great-Grandma's Ravioli & My Tomato Sauce

I've written some about Irish cooking, and a little about Italian cooking, but this is the first time I'm really sharing a family recipe.  It comes from the lady at in the center here, my great-grandmother, Rachel/Raquel/Antoinette*:

We have a few recipes from her, including the one for ravioli that I'll share below.  It was (and still is) prepared by Maffei women on the baking boards that were handmade by my great-grandfather, Louis, who made one for each of their daughters.  I'm descended from one of his sons (I have no idea what they were given), so my father made two boards a few years ago, one of which proudly sits on top of my refrigerator and is used approximately once every other month.  If I had more time, I would bake and make pasta more often.  As it is, it doesn't happen nearly enough, especially since it takes a while to do, but really isn't very complicated.

My cousin Jennifer is sort of keeper of our family history, and has done a really incredible job of putting together some of our favorite family recipes together in a cookbook that's always expanding to include other treasured recipes.  This one is in there, but my copy is still at my parents' house.  So, when I texted her for the recipe, she sent it to me just like this:

At the risk of giving away a family secret, I won't give more detail here.  Plus, this is pretty much what appears in the family cookbook, and what Rachel would have told her kids.  You can figure out the proportions pretty easily yourself - just sort of mix things together until it turns out right.  How will you know it's right?  Well, it'll look like great-grandma's ravioli.**

But, to be a little nicer, I'll give you the tomato sauce recipe I adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.***
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oregano

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and oregano and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or longer.  The flavor gets better the longer you cook it, so don't worry about overcooking it. Check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors. Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Stir back in with the unprocessed sauce, or process all for a smoother sauce.  Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion

*Unclear what her name actually was, but several people, including Jennifer, were named after her.
**Okay, if you really want to know, shoot me an email and I'll spill the proportions I use, but only because I love you all like family, and because everyone does it their own way, so I'm owning my ratios.
***I suspect we have a sauce recipe also, but this one was, frankly, delicious, and I don't have to worry about spilling any family secrets with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment