Ocean City Today

Roasted primavera sauce recipe

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Feb 22, 2018

(Feb. 23, 2018) Recipes are much more than a set of instructions that describe how to prepare delicious dishes.

They represent memories of family and loved ones, and it is these experiences that preserve tradition.

That being said, one’s culinary knowledge must be rooted in an understanding of not only how food is prepared, but also how the natural essence of each given ingredient interacts with other ingredients. It is this skill that supports creativity and ultimately personal style.

Different circumstances produce different results. My taste buds are craving for a delicious tomato sauce packed with veggies. Roasting the vegetables will yield a richer sauce that gives this dish a whole new dimension.

At the same time, I want the sauce to have fantastic texture. The solution is easy, half of the vegetables will be pureed into the sauce for thickness and the other half will be coarsely chopped which will yield crunchy goodness.

The sauce is the next subject at hand. Marinara has become synonymous with tomato sauce, but there is a big difference. Just remember, it is the subtleties that make the difference between a good chef and a great chef.

Usually, a marinara sauce consists of olive oil, ripe tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil and a pinch of dried crushed pepper seeds. The list of ingredients that do not belong in marinara are: onions, wine, meatballs, anchovies, tomato paste or butter.

Authentic marinara sauce has the taste of fresh tomatoes, along with a velvety consistency, and a hint of good quality olive oil. The trick to perfect marinara is to cook it at a vigorous simmer so that tomatoes are cooked just as the sauce becomes thick. This particular sauce should not be cooked for long periods of time.

If one is considering making a tomato sauce, following are a few suggestions. Both red and white wine impart an essence that compliments the sauce.

Red wine gives the sauce added fullness and robustness, while the white wine adds an undeniable fruitiness. Incorporate the wine early in the cooking process, this way the alcohol has a chance to burn off.

Do not throw away the rind of a hard block of cheese, like Parmesan or Romano. Add the rind to the sauce for extra flavor; make sure you remove it before serving. Cheese rinds freeze well and can be kept for several months.

Believe it or not, but a few tablespoons of butter can truly elevate a tomato sauce. The luxuriousness of the butter cuts through the acidity resulting in a velvety tomato sauce. Always use unsalted butter; otherwise, you could disrupt the balance of sodium.

Using lots of garlic is a stereotype of Italian food, but the way one uses it keeps the flavor under control. Once peeled, garlic should be thinly sliced or slivered, or left whole and lightly crushed. The more the garlic cells are broken down, the more the sulfurous molecules will produce a strong odor and flavor.

One or two fillets of the common salt water forage fish (of the family Engroulidae) can add a delightful umami quality to your sauce. You don’t actually taste the anchovies but the sauce has a just a little extra zing. It is these types of details that set your cooking apart from other chefs.

I cringe at the thought of adding sugar to my tomato sauce, but there are those who swear by it.

Contrary to popular belief, sugar does not make the acidity go away, it merely masks it. Baking soda on the other hand actually neutralizes the acidity. A few pinches are all you need; if you add too much, the sauce will develop a bitter taste.

If you have an abundance of vegetables, a roasted primavera sauce over thin spaghetti is perfect for family gatherings or entertaining. The thin spaghetti allows the sauce and vegetables to be the star. Feel free to improvise the selection of vegetables according to personal preference. Buon Appetito!


Roasted Primavera Sauce over Thin Spaghetti


extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms

7 cloves garlic, skin left on

1 sweet onion, quartered

1 medium yellow squash, ends removed, and cut lengthwise

2 medium zucchinis, ends removed, and cut lengthwise

2 orange bell pepper, stems removed, and seeded

2 poblano peppers, stems removed, and seeded

1 small eggplant, ends removed, and sliced lengthwise

1 large carrot, ends removed, peeled, and shredded

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 anchovy, finely chopped

4 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

4 teaspoons dried oregano

4 teaspoons dried basil

4 teaspoons Herbs de province

3 bay leaves

2 cubes Knorr chicken bouillon

several pinches dried red pepper flakes

3 cups dry white wine

kosher salt to taste

few pinches baking soda

thin spaghetti


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place mushrooms, garlic, onion, squash, zucchini and peppers on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle vegetables generously with olive oil. Add salt and roast in the oven uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Place eggplant on paper towels and salt heavily. After 30 minutes, the eggplant should start to sweat out the bitterness. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Coarsely chop eggplant and set aside.

3. Remove skin from roasted garlic and discard. Chop all the roasted vegetables. Divide roasted vegetables in half and reserve the other half.

4. In a large Dutch oven, combine roasted garlic, half of the roasted vegetables, eggplant, carrots, celery, anchovy, tomatoes, herbs, bouillon, pepper flakes, wine and salt. Cook sauce over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Remove lid. Remove bay leaves. Using a hand-held blender, carefully puree the vegetables into the sauce.

6. Add the rest of the vegetables and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens.

7. Serve roasted primavera sauce over pasta. A dusting of Parmesan cheese is suggested.


Secret Ingredient – Variety. “The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new.”

— Cato

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