The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165215 Message #3999806
Posted By: Charmion
08-Jul-19 - 11:08 AM
Thread Name: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
You get no argument from me on dried basil, Steve, or the onion-or-garlic issue with respect to pasta sauce. Most non-Italians attempting to cook Italian food are using inferior ingredients (well, inferior to Italian standards), especially tasteless tomatoes, hence the effort to boost the flavour any way they can. I like Marcella Hazan's advice to put an onion in whole and fish it out when the sauce is done, thus avoiding the claggy texture.
I made her tomato, butter and onion sauce the other day to eat with linguine. But I had only Mexican tomatoes shipped all the way to Ontario to work with (they were on special!), so I tossed in a bunch of fresh oregano from the garden to help out. The result was so good I wanted to eat it with a spoon right out of the saucepan -- but not Marcella's classic sauce. So sue me.
Sofrito, on the other hand, is not Italian, and does require both onions and garlic. I know it as the first stage of paella and a whole lot of other Spanish dishes; I have never been to Puerto Rico and never expect to go, but I'm not at all surprised to learn that PR cooking starts with sofrito.
The other cuisine I attempt that goes in for both onion and garlic in the same dish is Indian -- practically every dal dish in Madhoor Jaffrey calls for both, plus a whole whack of other stuff to add flavour to otherwise pretty well tasteless, if nourishing, legumes and grains. The function of onions in a dal dish often seems to be to thicken the sauce; you chop them so finely that they go into the pan as a mass of aromatic fibre. Garlic, on the other hand, goes in at the end, with the spices fried in oil that make up the tarka.