Posts Tagged ‘San Marzano tomatoes’

There’s not a lot that Jonathan won’t have a crack at.

Pete’s baby cousin, who has never abseiled before in his life, recently announced that he was going down the side of the 28-storey AMP building at Circular Quay. And with typical Jono panache, he did so in a lycra Spiderman costume.

He then told me in no uncertain terms that such bravery should not go unrewarded, so last week he invited himself and the lovely Laura over for dinner.  He’ll squeal in protest when he reads that and, truth be told, we’re always delighted to have the opportunity to share a meal with them (particularly Small Man, who likes to bend Uncle Jono’s ear about golf).

We served Mystery Meat Pie (although I knew what the meat was this time), and Pete’s dinner party speciality – duck ragu pasta.

The day before, I roasted four duck marylands for a couple of hours in the oven until brown and crispy. I fed one to Big Boy who was home for lunch, and stripped the meat from the other three, discarding the bones and skin.

The roasting process produced a large quantity of duck fat and juice, which I poured into a bowl and popped into the fridge.  Once cold, the fat lifted cleanly off the top (and was stored in the freezer), leaving behind a small quantity of jellied stock which was used in the pasta dish.

Duck Ragu Pasta
(adapted from a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie)

  • shredded duck meat from three roasted marylands (thigh and drumstick portion)
  • olive oil
  • 6 slices of pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow capsicum, seeded and chopped
  • ½ red capsicum, seeded and chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary,  leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • ½ bottle fruity young red wine (we used an Ashton Hills Pinot Noir)
  • leftover duck stock from roasting
  • 500g pasta (we used orecchiette, but Jamie recommends occhi di lupo)
  • 50g salted butter
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons of chardonnay vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon of sherry vinegar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste

1. In a large saute pan, heat a little olive oil and fry the pancetta until brown, then add the onion, capsicums, celery, rosemary, cinnamon and garlic.   Fry until softened, about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and red wine.  Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

2. Add the shredded duck and duck stock, and simmer for another half an hour, adding water if required. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

3. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the vinegars, sugar and salt, all to taste.  The purpose of the vinegars and sugar is to give the dish a sweet/sour taste.  Jamie’s original recipe specifies orange juice and zest, combined with red wine vinegar.  Heat for a few minutes more to amalgamate the flavours, then add the butter and allow to melt into the sauce.

4. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain well and add to the sauce.  Serve with a scattering of chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

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We finished the meal with Small Man’s Treacle Pudding and a large bowl of microwave custard.  Having eaten himself into a food-induced coma, Spiderman fell asleep on the floor shortly thereafter!

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In my kitchen…

…is a dark chocolate owl, made using these moulds from Candyland Crafts.

The owl is hollow and made with our 74% Tanzanie chocolate blend.  The detailing in the plastic moulds was exquisite…

In my kitchen…

…are four loaves of homemade sourdough ciabatta, our new pane de casa, or house bread.  Small Man is eating like a horse at the moment, and will demolish a loaf a day, before and after dinner.  Thankfully, it’s the simplest bread I make…

In my kitchen…

…are four rainbow trout, stuffed with baby leek, young ginger and parsley.  They were drizzled with thick soy, olive oil and a little flaky salt before roasting in a 200C oven.  We covered them with foil for the first 10 minutes, and then finished them off uncovered.  Nothing makes my starving younger son happier than having an entire fish to himself…

In my kitchen…

…are tinned Italian tomatoes.  Australian tomatoes have suffered so badly from the rain that it’s been uneconomical for us to make our homemade passata.  Additionally, the couple of batches we did make recently were watery and flavourless.

Thankfully, my mate Johnny at the cheese shop has started stocking the  fabulous Mutti range of Italian tomatoes and sauces.  Ignoring all my BPA concerns, I’ve stocked up on two types – the baby romas, and the San Marzano.  The latter are quite expensive ($3/tin), but ever since we’ve bought them, Pete has refused to use anything else.  Sigh…

The San Marzanos are grown in volcanic soil, and are the sweetest, thickest tinned tomatoes we’ve ever tasted.  So thick, in fact, that they often need to be diluted down with wine or water in a sauce!

The baby romas are fantastic – the small tomatoes keep their shape in the tin and often the finished dish will still have whole tomatoes in the sauce.  They’re far more affordable, at $20 per dozen tins.  And they’re much better than the tinned cherry toms we’ve bought in the past…

In my kitchen…

…is a new Emile Henry baking dish, in the most gorgeous aubergine/fig colour.  I found it at Peters of Kensington, reduced from $79 to $23.

I’m currently in the process of retiring all my heavy Le Creuset and La Chasseur cast iron pieces, and replacing them with Emile Henry cookware. I know the cast iron is magnificent, but honestly, the cookware was getting too heavy for me to manoeuvre and they were always such a bugger to wash!  The Emile Henry is lightweight, the Flame range goes onto the gas hob, and the dirty cookware goes straight into the dishwasher.

In my kitchen…

…is a little winter rhubarb from our garden.  We never knew that the stems would grow quite red in the colder weather…

We stewed the rhubarb with a little sugar and some of the frozen blackberries that we bought in Marrickville, and served it topped with Pete’s homemade Greek yoghurt and a little maple syrup…

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Tell me, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?

If you’d like to do an In My Kitchen post on your own blog, please feel free  to use this format, and to leave a comment here linking back to your post.  We’d all love to see what’s happening in your kitchen every month too!

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