This tomato sauce is adapted from a recipe for Pasta Sauce Raphael in the original Silver Palate Cookbook published in 1979. I loved that cookbook so much that my well-worn copy gives new meaning to the word tattered. I rarely, if ever, felt that there were errors in that book. This particular recipe is the only exception. Their version has three tablespoons of ground pepper in it with less than half the amount of tomatoes listed here (I believe I once saw a later volume and the quantity of pepper had been adjusted – my copy is dated 1982). I made the recipe as written in the cookbook once and found it completely inedible. Being a poor university student I didn’t want to throw out what I’d made so I kept adding tomatoes and artichokes until I finally balanced out the pepper. Over time I have adjusted a number of other things, and finally hit on a version of spicy tomato sauce that has become a family favorite.
Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce adapted from “Pasta Sauce Rafael” in the original Silver Palate Cookbook (10-12 servings, freezes well)
- 4 pounds plum tomatoes
- 30-ounces marinated artichoke hearts
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups white or yellow onions, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- Two 28-oz cans plum tomatoes (prefer Marzano)
- Two 15.5-oz cans tomato sauce
- One 6-oz can tomato paste
- ¼ dry red wine
- ½ cup capers, drained
- ½ cup flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional, eliminate for vegan version)
Prepare a large bowl of ice water. You’ll use this for tomato plunging – more on that in a sec.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the water a few at a time. You want to leave them in long enough that the skins loosen. Really ripe, fresh tomatoes will do this in a matter of ten seconds. Standard grocery store tomatoes are not nearly as ripe and will take between 30 seconds and a minute. Using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes and plunge them in the ice water. Next, remove them from the ice water, peel off the tomato skins and coarsely chop the tomatoes. You can seed them at this point, but I never do.
Drain the marinated artichokes, reserving the marinade. You’ll only need half of it for this recipe. Use the rest of it as a facial scrub (or not).
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch Oven or soup pot. Sauté the onions, garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes for five minutes. Add the ground black pepper, the peeled fresh tomatoes, the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine and the capers, simmer uncovered, for 60 minutes. Add half of the reserved artichoke marinade to the sauce and simmer 30 more minutes. Finally, add the marinated artichokes and parsley and simmer for a final 20 minutes. Just before serving add the Romano cheese, taste and add salt if needed. Serve.