About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene
Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug
Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan
Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim
Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Tomato Sauce with Vegetables and Olive Oil | Main | Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil »

Tomato Sauce with Heavy Cream

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. . . and now we move into the pasta and sauces chapter. Oh wow - there goes the diet. I was so hoping to wedge into some of the Italian clothing I see when I get to Bologna in two weeks. Yes, I did say two weeks . . . but I'm meandering here.

Anyway, today I say 'goodbye' to soups and move full-on into pasta and sauces.

I do believe that this section of 'Essentials' is particularly brilliant. Marcella gives explicit instructions for making the perfect pasta dish. Frankly, if one reads this section and still manages to plate undercooked and improperly sauced pasta they should be banned from the kitchen forthwith. With Marcella's advice in hand, anything less than pasta perfection will not be tolerated. No, it shall not.

I actually ready this section the way one reads a gripping novel, each paged turned, one after another, not wanting the flow of words to stop.

Sure I am food obsessed. I fully confess to that. However, Marcella's writing is so full of character and she imparts such words of wisdom that you can not help but love it.

I appreciated how she tackled the manner in which non-Italians abroad view Italian food - a big plate of overcooked pasta doused with boring tomato sauce. She cautions the serious cook to not be put off by this . . . tomato sauce need not taste like a can of 'Primo' nor a jar of 'Ragu'.

Marcella writes:

no flavour expresses more clearly the genius of Italian cooks than the freshness, the immediacy, the richness of good tomatoes adroitly matched to the most suitable choice of pasta.

With a description like this one has to be excited to have a go at one of her recipes.

My first selection was Tomato Sauce with Heavy Cream. This is not a complex preparation by any stretch of the imagination - perfect, ripe tomatoes, butter, a small quality of carrots, celery, and onion, and cream. That is it. While I love basil, garlic, and oregano it is a treat to make Italian food that isn't full of such stereotypical 'Italian' flavours.

With a recipe like this it is imperative that you use the best ingredients; trying to use anything less than that will result in a substandard effort that will leave you unhappy. There is enough unhappiness in the world - make a good meal and spread some happiness. :-)

The cook is advised that this sauce goes particularly well with stuffed pasta or the spinach ricotta gnocchi on p. 262. I made it with both. Yes, we loved it. You might be familiar with that beast known as 'Blush Sauce' - essentially this is what this is. I can guarantee you that if you make everything carefully using the finest ingredients this will taste as close to the wee plastic container of blush sauce that you picked up in the grocery store as cubic zirconium compares to a well-cut diamond.

This was a very good sauce! Thanks Marcella!

Comments (7)

Wow Jerry, that looks fantastic!

I agree with you, reading Marcella's cookbooks are just as rewarding as reading a gripping novel, except I think the reader reaps a greater reward with Marcella!

Oh yum, I could eat that right now!

I love pasta, so I know I will be trying out lots of your recipes. I got the cookbook so I can follow along with the recipes.

Good job, Jerry!

Mindy Smith:

Jerry, this does look fantastic. it makes me think of the sauces in Bologna. Heavenly!!

Marcella Hazan:

Thank you, Jerry, I admire your clear understanding of what it takes to make a good sauce. I wish I were going to Bologna with you, it has been such a long time. My last class there was in 1986, and at that time we were regulars at Diana, where everyday they made pappardelle, tagliatelle, lasagne, tortelloni, tortellini by hand, and the chef, whose nickname was Pippi, presided over the kind of Bolognese cooking that would have been familiar to the city's diners 50 or even 100 years earlier. It still exists, I know, but I doubt that it can still be operating in the same style.

I hope you get to do one of the tripe dishes. If you have the right tripe and don't mess around with the recipe it is one of the most luscious of meat dishes.

My best, Marcella

Jerry, I am waiting to share some Bologna pastas with you. So far so great!

Your sauce looks as good as last night's restaurant. I shall check out Diana!

Thanks Marcella - Palma is over in Bologna right now (I arrive in 10 days) - we're going to eat well! Sandi gets there in 12 days. Jan is going to be there as well. WOW - 4 from the blog in the city at the same time!

Do you have any other suggestions as to where we might want to go?


We have a market tour/cooking class booked. Sandi and I are touring a parmigiano producer and a balsamico producer.

It is ALL about the food. *smile*

It is such a well-written book isn't it Susie - one of the best I've seen I think.

I can't wait Mindy!

You'll like this sauce Nancy - easy, yet full-flavoured. MMMMM

Marcella Hazan:

Jerry, it has been too long since Victor and I lived and worked in Bologna to make specific recommendations. It has been almost 30 years since I have eaten in Diana for example, and I expect I wouldn't recognize it today. Talk to people there and get their up-to-the-minute advice. Ask them where to go in the hills outside Bologna. There are trattorie there that make food you won't find in the city, things like tigelle, a muffin like roll that is stuffed with a mixture of pancetta, parmesan, garlic, etc. There was a trattoria in a town called Stiore that made the best pan-fried potatoes with rosemary and garlic that I have ever eaten. And their fricasseed rabbit was sensational. Beat chicken any time. Buon appetito!

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