Really tasty...really easy...an all around winner! I served this at a small family dinner party a few weeks ago and it went over really well. I couldn't find a recipe for what I wanted, so I just went at it in the kitchen!
Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Sauce**
4 large tomatoes, cored and quartered*
1 large can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (save the liquid)*
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained (save the liquid)*
Olive Oil cooking spray
Salt and Black Pepper
2 - 2½ sweet onions, chopped
1 small can crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
2-3 tbsp beef soup base (optional)
1 cup dry red wine (or 1 mini bottle)—I used a Cabernet Sauvignon
1-2 tbsp Italian herbs
1 tbsp dried parsley
2-3 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground red pepper flakes
½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. In a casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, lay cored and quartered tomatoes skin down. Season with salt and pepper and a generous amount of minced garlic; drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven for approximately 1 hour (check at 30 minutes and 45 minutes). Let cool, then remove and discard skins and chop the tomatoes.
In a separate dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, combine the chopped whole tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and a generous amount of minced garlic; drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven for approximately 30 minutes. Juices will begin to brown.
Meanwhile, preheat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and slowly cook. They will give off moisture in the beginning, but eventually dry up and start to stick. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil once they start to stick. Turn the heat down slightly. Continue to cook slowly until browned and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Do not let them burn.
In a slow cooker, combine roasted tomatoes and pan juices(both dishes), juices from canned tomatoes, caramelized onions, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, additional garlic, 1-2 good sized tablespoons of beef soup base (can add more near the end if you want a heartier taste), wine, and all spices. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or however long you need it to cook). Taste and adjust seasonings. Let simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes while you pull everything else together.
Serve over Polenta with a Spinach Salad and Crusty Bread.
*Use this combination or do all fresh, whole, or diced—I wanted to see the difference in the three
Basic Polenta Giada de Laurentiis
6 cups water/milk mixture
1¾ cup cornmeal
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
In a large skillet, heat water/milk mixture to boiling. Slowly whisk in the salt and cornmeal; whisk continuously until thickened, approximately 2 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted.
Serve with Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Sauce
For Polenta Cakes: Pour hot polenta into a greased pan (size depends on desired thickness) and let cool. Slice into desired shapes. Bake or skillet fry polenta pieces as desired.
Walnut Spinach Salad**
¼ red onion, sliced and cut into thin strips about 2” long
¼ large apple, peeled and cut into thin strips about 2” long (recommend honeycrisp)
1-2 tbsp Lemon juice
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
Walnut Balsamic Dressing:
3-4 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Dash onion powder
Dash ground mustard
Prepare onion and apple. Pour lemon juice over apple to prevent browning, tossing to combine. Toast walnuts in a skillet until fragrant but not burned; cool. Remove apple from lemon juice and dry with a paper towel.
Combine salad ingredients and toss in a large bowl. Wisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss to combine and serve.
**All ingredient amounts are estimates.