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Big Tomato — It’s What’s for Dinner

big-tomato

The original plan was to make a honkin’ big batch of Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana using the jumbo can of plum tomatoes. But then stuffed green peppers sounded good, too, what with the green peppers being garden fresh. That should leave just the right amount tomatoes for standard-issue spaghetti sauce. Fortunately, this last stroke of brilliance hit when standing at the meat counter so a pound of the good Italian sausage made it home without the need for a second trip. And the four cans of tomato sauce in the pantry could be called into action.

The results: Eight meals of Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana, ditto spaghetti sauce, now in the freezer, plus stuffing for four meals of stuffed green peppers on hand. One or two less meals to plan each week for a goodly while. Zero cans of tomato anything in the pantry.

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How Did That Pan Out?

oven

The default cake pan for this kitchen is a Bundt pan. I bought it long ago. Not knowing better at the time, I bought a black one. The purported positive theory was things bake faster in black–save time, save energy. Well, the outside bakes much faster but I’ve always had a problem with  super crispy outer edge and a still-gooey center.

So when I saw a post on Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Facebook page about using a baking sheet under a baking pan not just to catch bubble-over but to change baking dynamics, I decided to give it try. Oddly, the post noted that baking time would likely be affected but didn’t note in which direction.

oven-cake

For me for this cake, it increased baking time by about 10 minutes. Most importantly, the edge did not get crunchy. The hubs was pleased. This is his fav: poppy seed form cake. He maintains, however, that the center was still a titch gooey and requested a retrial. Yes, dear. Finish this one and I’ll bake another.

All in all, the experiment did pan out.

What has not panned out recently is the photo program on the ol’ PC. If it does open at all, it crashes, so please forgive the less-than-average images. As soon as I can find a solution, I’ve got a bunch of things to post. After eons in publishing, I can’t bring myself to publish anything beyond these two raw images.

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Tomato Sauce II

Tomato sauce

Winter remains, as expected, here in the Midwest. Mid-day temps mostly in the teens all week. Turning the oven on for a couple of hours to make the Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana seemed an absolutely splendid idea.

Also absolutely splendid is this sauce! I anticipated a flavorful outcome, and using Italian plum tomatoes (rather than plain ol’ supermarket variety) no doubt added to the flavor. Still super rich even after cutting the cream by a quarter.

Now I’m trying to figure out why/if the oven cooking vs. simmering on the stove makes a difference. A good friend with oodles of cooking experience (former food editor for a major magazine) wasn’t convinced method significantly affected outcome in this case. My guess was the sauce perhaps steams rather than simmers. She shrugged – not a big diff.

Need to do a little investigating – and with at least an hour and a half of cooking time, maybe that’s time smartly spent researching.

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