Kuster Dental: Food & Wine

Posts Tagged ‘tomato sauce’

A Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

Posted on: October 22nd, 2013 by James No Comments

The other night I was craving pasta.  More specifically, I was craving the taste of fresh, crushed tomatoes combined with basil and oregano.  Not having a tomato sauce handy I did what anyone with an Internet connection and a tablet would do and I surfed for a recipe.  I came across this one and it sounded both delicious and something I could tackle with limited time (I didn’t get my craving until 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday night and knew I’d still have to go to the grocery.)

The sauce was delicious, but be warned, the red pepper gives it more of a “bite” than I’d anticipated.  I put this over whole wheat spaghetti, garnished it with fresh basil, oregano, and shaved parmesan cheese, and served it with a simple salad.  Unfortunately, as a result it didn’t satisfy my craving for the flavor of fresh, ripe tomatoes, but I’ll make it again regardless.



Makes about a quart of tomato sauce.

Active Time

30 minutes

Total Time

45 minutes



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon



  1. Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan.
  2. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste.  If the sauce needs more salt add it now.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest.

Cavatappi With Yellow Tomato Sauce

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by James No Comments

I found this recipe first in the Off Duty section of the weekend Wall Street Journal last Fall and then when adding it to Pepperplate I found it on the Food Network.  This is an amazingly delicious pasta dish that tastes like it is made with heavy cream, yet the healthy beauty of the dish is that there’s not a drop of cream in it.


4 servings

Active Time

10 min

Total Time

40 min



5 yellow beefsteak tomatoes, washed, core removed, a small “x” cut on the bottom of each

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

3 large shallots, peeled and sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 pound dry pasta, such as penne or cavatappi

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

25 to 30 basil leaves, washed and dried

Grated Parmesan, to taste



1.Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt the water generously. Prepare an ice bath for the tomatoes by filling a medium bowl with cold water and some ice cubes. Use a slotted spoon to plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1 to 2 minutes. The skin should show evidence of peeling away from the flesh of the tomatoes. Remove them from the water and plunge them into the ice bath. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the cool water so they stop cooking.

2.In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil and add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the oregano and sugar. Stir to blend. Allow to cook, over low heat, until the shallots and garlic become tender and translucent.

3.Meanwhile, remove the tomatoes from the ice bath, peel off and discard the skin from each. Place them on a flat surface, quarter them and scoop out the seeds and “jelly” from each piece. Gather all the seeds in a strainer and push through the liquid that naturally surrounds the seeds. Discard the seeds. Reserve the liquid and tomato flesh.

4.Add the tomato and liquid to the shallot mixture and stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon ground pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the tomato flesh starts to lose shape, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. If there are still some hard pieces, add a little more water and cook for a few more minutes. Taste for seasoning.

5.In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt. The pasta water should taste like sea water. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so none of the pieces stick to the bottom as they cook. Cook the pasta until “al dente”, chewy but not hard or raw tasting, 8 to 10 minutes, and drain the pasta in a colander until the sauce is finished. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking liquid in case you need it later.

6.Put the tomato sauce in the blender and puree until smooth. Slowly add the vinegar through the top of the blender as the sauce is blending. Next, pour the remaining olive oil through the top in a slow, steady stream. Blend in another cup of water then remove the sauce from the blender and taste for seasoning.

7.Pour most of the sauce into a large skillet and add the pasta. Toss to blend with a wooden spoon. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta liquid to thin it out. Taste for seasoning. Add the basil leaves and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.