Shalom, Salaam, Friede, Mir, Pokoj, Henva, Beke, Sulh, Vrede, Iri’ni, Paco, Ruaha, Iri, Perdamaian, Kapayapaan sa Mundo, Beannachtaí na Féile, Hauole Makahiki Hou; Pas and Pax Vobiscum.
Blwyddwyn Newydd Dda! Schaslivovo Novogo goda; Amani Duniani; Asomdwoe ä; Selam ä; Here ä; Mutenden; Lumana ä; Nye; Runyararo ä; Emirembe; and Ukuthula ä from the African nations.
No matter what the language, peace be with you all in the New Year!
I am reminded as we begin 2015 what my motto has been since I learned the Serenity Prayer as a teen: “Remain Serene!” That is not always easy, but along the way, we learn strategies to cope; for me that is digging and pruning in the garden, and/or chopping and shredding in the kitchen. I have been doing both these past couple of days, and so it is a great time to share this kitchen-tested-more-than-once sauce from my good friend, Christine Quinn.
We have worked together since she was the first person I interviewed as a columnist in 1999, and have we established an easy banter and shared appreciation for the arts and the kitchen, sometimes in reverse order.
When we were chatting not long ago about the following recipe, I could virtually taste it, and knew this would be a winner. We got together to cook with friend and neighbor, Joyce Backhaus; Christine made the ravioli and sauce, and made history:
Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- 3⁄4 of (6 oz.) can tomato paste
- Half-pint heavy cream (almost all)
- 1 pkg. mushrooms, de-stemmed and minced
- 1⁄2 stick butter (more is better)
- Garlic and/or onion to taste, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chicken ravioli, or pasta of your choice, cooked and drained
Wipe mushrooms well with a damp paper towel; remove stems and chop finely. Mince onion and/or garlic, and sauté in butter over low heat — do not brown. Stir in the minced mushrooms (there should more than the aromatics so the mushroom flavor is the most pervasive. Christine and I prefer creminis, but white buttons are fine); do not brown, and do not salt or all the juices will flow. Add in the cream and then stir in the tomato paste. Season lightly.
Allow to simmer about 14 minutes, until reddish-beige in color; adjust seasonings, especially the salt. Meanwhile, prepare ravioli according to directions. Serve hot dressed with sauce, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnished with shredded parsley.
I like ravioli bathed in the sauce, so in my kitchen test we prepared a batch using the whole can of tomato paste and all the cream. It made enough to also spoon over my omelet the next morning.
We wondered whether this delicious sauce could be frozen to use later, so I prepared a batch by cooking the vegetables and adding the tomato paste
until slightly caramelized. Then, I carefully stirred in the cream in case it would curdle — it didn’t. Some of the red sauce without cream I set aside to cool and freeze, along with some of the finished product. I froze each sample, thawed and reheated with no loss in quality, including the cup to which I added the cream before serving time.
I also made a batch of Charmaine Coimbra’s walnut ravioli from scratch, using wonton wraps and dressing them with the sauce and cheese, as illustrated here. Yummy every way!