It's another Crazy Cooking Challenge and for March 2012, the assignment is spaghetti with RED sauce. And, spaghetti was the only pasta allowed. Thank the Lord I found one with just three -- count them, 1,2,3 -- ingredients because I had to make it, twice! Oh, yeah, Dumb Bunny, me, didn't read the fine print and used penne pasta for my first attempt. Shame on me. But, I didn't care. With just tomatoes, butter, and an onion, you are transported to another level of gastronomic ecstacy. Well, actually, just two ingredients, because you throw one away, when it's time to serve -- what could be easier?
This absolutely delicious recipe was found on Deb Perelman's blog called Smitten Kitchen. She is a food photographer extraordinaire, prepares fantastic foods, is NOT a professional chef -- and, does everything in a little New York apartment kitchen! That isn't to say she hasn't been noticed in the blogging world, but it does mean she meets the criteria. Her recipes are within everyone's budget because she doesn't use exotic ingredients and she's tenacious about getting each recipe, just so. As with other Challenges, I'm sending you directly to her site for an in-depth tale on Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions and only adding what I did using the solar oven because the purpose is to introduce you to new bloggers and, hopefully, discover someone you want to visit on a regular basis.
Solar Spaghetti with Red Tomato Butter Onion Sauce is my adaptation of this incredibly easy sauce. Deb calls for a 28oz can of whole tomatoes and a whole onion, cut in half. As you know, I dehydrate straight from the garden for that garden-fresh taste and that's what I used. Six slices of dried tomato equaled one Early Girl tomato (approx. 10 ounces), so I used 24 slices for rehydration in 24 ounces of warm water. (I know. I know. Simple math says it should be 30 ounces, but I wasn't looking for extra liquid and knew that this would do what I wanted it to do.) One tablespoon of dried onion equals one medium onion. I wrapped the onions in two layers of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, leaving enough room for expansion, and let it sit in 2 tablespoons of warm water until all liquid was absorbed.
Because my tomatoes hadn't been skinned, the rehydrated tomatoes were run thru the processor to prevent 'strings' in the finished sauce. The tomatoes were returned to the tempered measuring cup, along with the cheesecloth sack of rehydrated onions, and zapped in the microwave for 4 minutes to get things started and reduce any temperature drop in the preheated solar oven.
I stirred in the 5 tablespoons of butter after pouring everything into a 4-quart roaster, added the cover and cooked it in the solar oven for approximately 1.5 hours. The sauce was pretty thick, by then, but still needed a bit more reduction because I hadn't cooked it uncovered, letting excess moisture escape. Final reduction was done, stovetop, in under five minutes, in a skillet over medium-high heat. I squeezed the onion sack between two wooden spoons to get every last drop of goodness before discarding, and added a touch of salt.
As always, I hope you'll visit the other Challengers and leave them some comment love, too. I know you'll find new sauces to try for your spaghetti dishes, BUT, you'll be able to use any pasta you want because it's your kitchen -- and, you're in charge!