Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stick of Butter - Optional

Isn't it redundunt to have to have two posts about end of summer sauce? Yes, but I'm doing it anyway!

In college, I had a roommate named Missy. Missy had a large, traditional Italian family who wanted to feed everyone...everything...all the time. Though Missy and her family's food was ridiculously good, it was also ridiculously bad as almost every meal had at the least one stick of butter! Everything! Shit you didn't even think would need butter had butter. Hmmm, wonder where that freshman 15 came from?

I learned many things that first year of college. One was that a stick of butter in everything you eat really isn't good for you (duh!). Two, that my high school metabolism was not interested in receiving a higher education and decided to drop out as soon as I hit 19! Lastly, there was one "healthy" dish I could count on my roommate to cook that had the option of no butter! Well, that and 10 cent beer nights with $3 tequila shots never ends well, but that's another post altogether.

I remembered this recipe when I was staring at the summer's last batch of zucchini and yellow peppers at the bottom of my fridge. The additional bonus to this recipe is that I could make it in my slow cooker! And I looooooovvvvveeee my slow cooker!

My roommate would make this sauce for family-style dinners with friends with the option of toasted breadcrumbs over the top. And, of course, the breadcrumbs were toasted with.....you guessed it....a stick of butter!

End of Summer Vegetable Sauce

1 large onion, sliced*
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced*
2 medium zucchinis, sliced*
1/4 c veggie broth
1 yellow pepper*
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

1 stick (or pad) of butter (optional)
1/2 c bread crumbs
* indicates that these are locally farmed ingredients from Goshen, NY and PA.

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and begin to saute sliced onions. Cook for few minutes until onions begin to soften and brown.
2. Add chopped garlic. Let garlic cook for a few minutes until slightly browned.
3. Add zucchini, yellow pepper, and veggie broth to deglaze the pan. Cook for a just few minutes longer.
4. Move your cooked veggies to your slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. You can add a little more broth if you need more liquid, but remember that you veggies will continue to give off water as they cook down.
5. Set slow cooker to low for 4 hours.
6. To serve with breadcrumbs, melt butter (I'll let you judge how much you want) in a pan. Once butter is completely melted, add 1/2 c breadcrumbs. Toss in butter and let breadcrumbs brown slightly in the pan.

Serve sauce over pasta with breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. Or you can use this sauce to create a kick-ass flatbread.

End of Summer Sauce Flatbread

1 package prepared whole wheat dough
1/4 - 1/2 c flour (depending on how sticky your dough it)
1/4 - 1/2 c olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 c End of Summer Sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
1 c grated cheese of your choosing
toppings of your choosing
salt and pepper

1. Prehead oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a floured counter or cuttig board, roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. I find that prepared pizza dough doesn't really roll out that well, so don't feel bad if you can't get it to that thin.
3. Brush dough with olive oil. I find this helps it crisp up.
4. Layer on your sauce, cheese, and whatever other toppings.*
5. Bake in oven for desired doneness (some people like their shit burned).

* If you're using a lot of sauce, then I suggest par-baking the crust a little before layering on your sauce and toppings. You can place the dough in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, just to give it ahead start.

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