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GOOD COOKING

The Flying Sauces

April 14, 1999|ABBY MANDEL

Entertaining should be fun and free-flowing, which is the way my stepdaughter and her husband, Judy and Tom Scorza, entertain. They recently hosted a pasta party and served everyone straight from the kitchen.

Picture 24 people streaming through their kitchen, viewing various sauces bubbling on the stove, while Tom stood stove-side serving the hot pasta topped with a choice of one sauce or some of each. (Be sure to have some plain tomato sauce in a small pot just in case seafood isn't for everyone.)

For this kind of party, kitchen space can be small or large because not everyone needs to be in there at the same time. There's a wonderful rhythm to it all; it's interactive dining at its best.

Start off with easy-to-serve appetizers: prosciutto wrapped around slim pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted red bell peppers in olive oil with fresh basil and an assortment of oil-cured olives. Desserts can be purchased from your favorite bakery or you can serve bowls of pears, apples and grapes with varied biscotti.

Tom Scorza's Basic Tomato Sauce

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

Scorza recommends using canned San Marzano tomatoes, which are available in Italian markets as well as in many supermarkets. This recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 bunches small green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped garlic

2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 cups red wine, preferably Chianti

4 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes with basil

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

Red pepper flakes

* Heat oil in 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until garlic begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley. Add wine and bring to boil over medium heat.

* Add tomatoes, salt and ground pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Break up tomatoes with wooden spoon. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. (Tomato sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 month. Before using, gently reheat until hot. Add water if too thick and adjust seasoning as needed.)

* Ladle hot tomato sauce over hot fettuccine and serve immediately.

12 (1-cup) servings. Each serving without pasta: 158 calories; 617 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.31 grams fiber.

Calamari Tomato Sauce

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Have the calamari cleaned at your fish market.

2 pounds calamari, cleaned, cut into thin rings, rinsed and drained

6 cups Basil Tomato Sauce

* Simmer calamari in hot Basic Tomato Sauce over medium heat just until cooked through and opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.

* Ladle sauce over hot pasta.

6 servings. Each serving without pasta: 317 calories; 1,086 mg sodium; 282 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 2.45 grams fiber.

Shrimp Sauce

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

1 1/2 pounds shelled and deveined shrimp, rinsed and drained

6 cups Basic Tomato Sauce

* Simmer shrimp in hot Basic Tomato Sauce over medium heat just until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

* Ladle sauce over hot pasta.

6 servings. Each serving without pasta: 292 calories; 1,153 mg sodium; 124 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 24 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 2.45 grams fiber.

Mussels Sauce

Active Work Time: 5 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

4 pounds mussels

Water

6 cups Basic Tomato Sauce

* Soak mussels in cold salted water 20 minutes. Trim beards and drain.

* Cook mussels covered in 1 cup water in large pot over high heat, shaking often, until shells open, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard mussels whose shells don't open.

* Place mussels on pasta with slotted spoon, then ladle on hot Basic Tomato Sauce. Serve immediately.

6 servings. Each serving without pasta: 289 calories; 1,309 mg sodium; 27 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 2.45 grams fiber.

Judy Scorza's House Salad

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

16 cups loosely packed mixed torn bibb, red lettuce leaves and arugula (stems trimmed), washed and crisped

* Combine garlic, dry mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar and pepper in jar with lid. Cover and shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add oil and shake until mixed. (Vinaigrette can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature and shake well before using.)

* Put crisped greens in large bowl. Add 2/3 cup dressing and toss gently until well mixed. Add remaining dressing as needed. Adjust seasoning as needed.

12 servings. Each serving: 96 calories; 216 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.53 gram fiber.

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