Roux is necessary to thicken and give body to sauces. Put one tablespoon of flour and one of butter into a saucepan and cook until the flour has lost any raw taste. Then put the saucepan on the back of the stove and add slowly the stock or milk, one cup for every tablespoon of butter or flour, and stir until smooth. For white sauces take care the flour does not color; for dark sauces let it brown, but take care it does not burn.
A white sauce or roux in Italian cooking is normally found in northern Italian kitchens where they use more cream and butter in their cooking than those from the south. This is a basic white sauce recipe.
ITALIAN SAUCES - AGRO DOLCE
Take two tablespoons of sugar (brown or white), one-half a cup of currants, a quarter of a bar of grated chocolate, one tablespoon of chopped candied orange, one of lemon-peel, one of capers, and one cup of vinegar. Mix well together and let soak for two hours; pour it over lamb, venison or veal, and simmer for ten minutes.
ITALIAN SAUCES -TOMATO SAUCE NO. 1
The reason why there are so many variations for a tomato sauce recipe here is that making tomato sauce in Italy is almost a religion, with as many variations as there are Italian kitchens.
Everyone in every village, town and city in Italy has their own special tomato sauce recipe that has been handed down from mother to daughter throughout the generations. And the further south you go, the more chilies appear in the tomato sauce.
As a personal preference, I prefer to add capers to my own tomato sauce recipes rather than chilies, but then each to their own. However, by adding capers to my sauces, it seems to balance the tart of the capers with the sweetness of the tomatoes.
A classic Italian tomato sauce recipe uses capers, tomato sauce and anchovies called Puttanesca
. A dish that I find very convenient to make when I don't have a lot of time or I have unexpected guests and the pantry is running on empty.
Here is the first recipe for tomato sauce.
Take ten fresh tomatoes, remove the skins, cut them up; put them into a saucepan and boil them until soft. Then pass them through a sieve. Put their juice into a saucepan with one heaping tablespoon of butter or one-half tablespoon of good lard, salt and pepper, and boil again, adding water if the sauce becomes too thick. This sauce can be kept in a bottle for several days. It can be used for macaroni, etc., in place of the tomato paste.
ITALIAN SAUCES - ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE NO. 2
This classic tomato sauce uses basil, a well-loved herb used a lot in Italian cooking recipes
. Mince one-quarter of an onion, one-half a stalk of celery, a few leaves of sweet basil, and a bunch of parsley up fine. Add one-half cup of olive-oil, a pinch of salt and one of pepper, and cut eight or nine tomatoes into slices.
Boil until the sauce is as thick as cream, stirring occasionally, then strain through a sieve and serve.
ITALIAN SAUCES - ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE NO. 3
Take four pounds of tomatoes, cut them in two, and put them into a two-quart saucepan with two wine-glasses of water, two salt spoons of salt, one of pepper, cover the saucepan.
Boil for forty minutes, stirring often to prevent burning; then strain.
Make a roux in another saucepan with one ounce of butter and three-quarters of an ounce of flour. Cook for three minutes, mixing well.
A rich tomato sauce
Take roux off the heat, and pour the tomatoes into it a little at a time, stirring to keep it smooth.
Add two wineglasses of stock, put on a medium heat, and cook for twenty minutes, stirring all the time.
ITALIAN SAUCES - BUTTER SAUCE
Take eight ounces of butter, one tablespoon of salt, one of pepper, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir with a wooden spoon over the heat until the butter is half melted, then take it off and continue to stir until it is quite liquid. By taking the butter off the stove before it is all melted it will have a pleasant taste of fresh cream; this is all lost otherwise.
ITALIAN SAUCES - LOMBARDA SAUCE
Put two tumblers of white roux and one of chicken jelly into a saucepan, reduce, and add three yolks of eggs mixed with two ounces of butter and the juice of one-half lemon. Before it boils take the saucepan off the fire, and add one tumbler of thick homemade tomato sauce made from one of the recipes here, strain, and just before serving add one tablespoon of sweet herbs minced fine.
ITALIAN SAUCES - "ALLA PANNA" SAUCE
Melt one-half a pound of butter, add a little flour, salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Stir until thick, then add one pint of cream, a little chopped parsley, and heat for five minutes.
ITALIAN SAUCES - MEAT SAUCE
Put into a saucepan one pound of beef and one-half an onion chopped up with three ounces of lard, some parsley, salt, pepper, one clove, and a very small slice of ham. Fry these over a hot heat for a few moments, moving them continually, and when the onion is browned add four tablespoons of red wine, and four tablespoons of tomato sauce (or tomato paste).
When this sauce begins to sputter, add, little by little, some boiling water. Stick a fork into the meat from time to time to allow the juices to escape. Take a little of the sauce in a spoon, and when it looks a good golden color, and there is a sufficient quantity to cover the meat, put the covered saucepan at the back of the stove and allow it to simmer until the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Now take out the meat, slice it, prepare macaroni, or any paste you desire, and serve it with the meat, and the sauce poured over all, and the addition of butter and grated cheese.
ITALIAN SAUCES - ECONOMICAL SAUCE
Take one-half of an old onion and chop it up fine. Take one small carrot, wash it, scrape it, and cut it into transverse slices; do the same with a stalk of celery, some parsley, and one fresh or canned mushroom. Then take a slice of ham (raw if possible), fat and lean, about four fingers wide and one finger high. Chop it up fine, and put it into a medium-sized saucepan with one tablespoon of butter.
When the ham is colored, put in the chopped-up vegetables, one clove, salt, and pepper, and stir constantly, allowing the vegetables to cook thoroughly but not to burn, which will destroy the taste of the sauce. It should be a golden color. A little red wine may be added if you have it, but this is not necessary.
Then add four fresh tomatoes, cut into several pieces, the skins removed, and the seeds taken out. Allow these to cook in the sauce until they sputter, then add a little water (or bouillon if you have it), allow it to boil for a few moments more, then take it off the heat and pass it through a sieve or fine colander, pressing hard so that all will pass through. If it is too thick after straining, add water or bouillon, and put it back and allow it to boil again a few moments.
This sauce can be used for macaroni, gnocchi, left-over meat, egg, etc. The success of the sauce depends upon the proper frying of the onion in it.
ITALIAN SAUCES - HOT PIQUANTE SAUCE
Chop up fine two ounces of lean ham and a small piece of onion, add a little celery, the stalks of parsley, one clove, one-half tablespoon of pepper, and one-half bay-leaf.
Pour over these ingredients a scant one-half cup of vinegar.
Cover the saucepan and allow it to boil until it has consumed one-half.
Put into another saucepan one-half cup of bouillon (or water in which you have dissolved one tablespoon of extract of beef).
Allow the sauce to boil, and then thicken with a teaspoon of potato flour which has been diluted in a little cold water. Drop this, little by little, into the saucepan until you have gained the required thickness for the sauce. Then pour in the boiled vinegar, passing it through cheese-cloth.
Mix well together and add a teaspoon of French mustard, some capers, and some chopped-up pickles. Serve hot with meats or tongue. The pepper should predominate in this sauce.
ITALIAN SAUCES - PIQUANTE SAUCE WITH EGG
Take some anchovy paste--one tablespoon, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, some capers and chopped pickles, one teaspoon of French mustard and the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs. Work this all together into a paste, then add three tablespoons of olive-oil and two or three of vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. This sauce is good with both meat and fish.
BOOKS ON ITALIAN SAUCES AND PASTA SAUCES