Some food combinations are wonderful but others can have you scratching your head. For instance, last week, I picked up some coconut milk cheese at my local deli. I like coconut and I like cheese, so I figured the combo would be delicious. Nope. It was like a bottle of suntan lotion spilled onto my cheese. Not appetizing in the least.
Tomato and orange, on the other hand? Now that’s a winning combo.
I’ve been making a version of this tomato sauce for nearly 15 years. It’s my go-to sauce and I’m actually a bit shocked that I’ve never shared it here. It’s simple and charming and you’ll wonder when you finish your plate how you could have lived your life without it. It’s one of those sauces.
The very first time I made this tomato sauce it was way more complicated than it needed to be. Vodka and cream was involved, and back when I was a poor student, these 2 ingredients were way outside of my budget. But I hung onto this sauce and discovered that getting rid of those pricey ingredients actually made the sauce much more interesting and way more accessible.
I used fire-roasted tomatoes this time ’round, but regular tomatoes work just as well. Come summer, use diced fresh tomatoes and it becomes even more brilliant. If you left out the orange juice, you’d get a nice little tomato sauce. But it’s the orange juice that makes this dish really special. Just be sure to use a good pungent orange, not one of those watery, tasteless ones. Quality ingredients matter when you’ve got such a simple sauce.
It’s a quick sauce too. Get your onions and garlic sautéing and then get your water on for your pasta. Dinner will be ready before you know it. And don’t forget to sprinkle on some cheese!
elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk this week (and just in time for a sunny weekend), I give a recipe for perhaps the best pancakes ever. You be the judge.
And if you are in Vancouver, on May 6th is another installment of Vancouver’s best craft fair, Got Craft? I’ll be there selling my cards, birthday calendars & prints and you can also purchase a uber cute Got Craft tote bag that I designed for the event! Pick up a copy of the local free mag The Westender and check out an interview I did about Got Craft (or you can read it online here). Of course, please stop by Sunday May 6th and say hi! I love meeting my readers!!
my favorite tomato sauce (with onions & orange)
A more intense orange flavour can be reached by adding some zest into the sauce. Play around!
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 t dried oregano (or herbs du provence)
1 t aleppo pepper (or 1/4 t red chili pepper flakes)
pinch of kosher salt
1 T butter
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted tomatoes are an excellent option)
juice of 1 orange
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion and garlic and let saute until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in dried herbs, pepper, salt and butter along with the can of diced tomatoes. Let sauce simmer and reduce slightly, about 10-15 minutes, turning down the heat if necessary. Squeeze in fresh orange juice, stir and let simmer another 3 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta.