If you’re like me, you probably grew up on store-bought tomato sauce. My mom used to buy Paul Newman’s. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious in its own way. But after learning how to make my own in a recent class at Grace’s Marketplace, I just don’t think I could ever go back. (At least when I have enough time!) Executive chef Joe Trama led the class, teaching us several different sauce recipes, including:
- Tri Color Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Warm Bourbon Sauce
(I’ve included all of the recipes at the end of this post!)
First up: tomato-basil sauce. This was by far the highlight! I really never knew how easy it was to make. Best of all, as chef Joe explained, it doesn’t really require a recipe. A little of this, a little of that — it just comes down to your personal preference. “Cooking is a passion,” he reminded us. It’s true, and I’ve definitely been guilty of focusing too much on recipes and less on experimenting / cooking to-taste!
This was some of the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had, and the freshness made all the difference. (Side note: we used heirloom tomatoes, which made for a truly beautiful presentation. SO much color!)
Next up: hollandaise sauce, aka the famous eggs benedict topping. (Which I learned also tastes delicious with asparagus!) This one requires a bit more skill than tomato sauce, and it really comes down to whipping the egg yolks to the right consistency. I was excited to finally learn the technique behind it.
And for the grand finale: warm bourbon sauce! Now, you may know by now that I have an incurable sweet tooth. So (obviously!) this was another class highlight. There’s just something about pairing bourbon with desserts. It makes them less coyingly sweet, but all the more decadent! We drizzled the sauce over a rich, fluffy bread pudding. Ahh, bread pudding — dessert comfort food at its finest.
As I mentioned, Grace’s Marketplace hosted the class. Grace’s is a family-owned gourmet grocery store, featuring a variety of specialty products and locally sourced produce. For those interested, they will be hosting several upcoming classes, which I’ve listed below. (For reservations or further questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org):
- August 6th – “Eat Like a Locavore” (Hands On)
- August 27th – “Low Salt and Heart Healthy Techniques” (Demo Class)
- September 17th – “Italian Cooking from the Puglia Region of Italy” (Hands On)
- October 8th – “Kitchen Basics” (Hands On)
And here are all of the recipes!
Tri Color Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce by chef Joe Trama (serves 4)
- 4 cups tri color cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3 tbsp blended olive oil (we used a blend of olive oil and canola oil, which has a higher smoking point than straight olive oil)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp red chile flakes (optional)
- 1 lb preferred pasta
- Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Add minced garlic and cook until light brown. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
- Cook tomatoes for approximately 10 minutes while delicately pressing them with a wooden spoon.
- Once tomatoes are saucy, add fresh basil.
- Remove from heat, toss with 1 lb of your preferred pasta (cooked). Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Hollandaise Sauce by chef Joe Trama (serves 4-6)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp tobasco sauce
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup of clarified butter
- Heat clarified butter in the microwave to 160-170 degrees.
- Combine all other ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. Whisk until the volume doubles.
- Slowly and evenly, add heated butter while continuing to whisk. (Eggs will start to thicken.)
- When finished, serve immediately over asaparagus.
Warm Bourbon Sauce by chef Joe Trama (serves 4)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add remaining ingredients. Slowly simmer, whisking until the mixture thickens.
- It will coat the spoon when done.
- Pour over warm bread pudding.