I have a new love: Jersey Farms Crushed Tomatoes.
I can eat them straight out of the can. Seriously. They just taste so rich and, well, tomatoey.
All of the tomatoes come from just 6 cooperative farms in New Jersey. Once picked, they are canned within 24 hours with no added water or preservatives, only a little salt. The crushed tomatoes are thick, but not too thick. They are perfect. Just perfect. You almost don’t need any seasoning at all. You practically don’t even need to cook them.
But if you do cook with them, whoa golly, are you in for a treat. These tomatoes make the best pizza sauce. The best anything, really.
Using some mild beef sausage from my CSA, I made a quick sauce with just garlic, olive oil, and some extra kale I had in the fridge. After rolling some al dente rigatoni in it for a couple of minutes, I topped everything with a sloppy spoonful of creamy, locally-made ricotta. A little drizzle of olive oil to add an extra bit of luster.
And I tell you, it was delicious.
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 pound mild Italian beef sausage, casings removed
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (preferably Jersey Farms Crushed Tomatoes)
2 cups of kale, chopped with the ribs removed
Salt and pepper
1 pound of rigatoni
Whole milk ricotta cheese
More olive oil for drizzling
How to prepare:
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large casserole, or Dutch oven. When the oil begins to shimmer, sauté the garlic in it until it is fragrant. The garlic should just begin to have a little bit of color, but not too much. Crumble the sausage into the oil, and cook it until it is evenly browned (be sure to break up larger pieces of sausage with the edge of your spoon as you cook). Add as many red pepper flakes as you like. Toss the red pepper flakes with the browned sausage for about a minute before adding the tomatoes.
2. Carefully pour in the crushed tomatoes. If the sauce seems too thick to you, you can add some water to thin it out a little bit. Stir everything together. Lower the heat, and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes before adding the kale.
3. In the meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water begins boiling, add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente.
4. Let the kale wilt in the sauce while the pasta cooks. Adjust the seasoning.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it well. You will add about a ladleful of sauce per 1/4 pound of pasta. Toss everything together, and then divide the pasta into warmed bowls.
6. Top each serving of pasta with a nice, fat dollop of ricotta cheese. Drizzle some olive oil on top of everything. Before eating, be sure to mix the ricotta into the pasta with your fork!