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When Fall arrives, I always find myself preparing dishes that warm me up on the inside and “sticks to your ribs” so to speak. So with that in mind, I thought sharing my quick pasta sauce method would be a great recipe that anyone can make quickly and at the same time enjoy a freshly made rich tomato sauce. The great thing with my tomato sauce recipe is it adapts well to different flavour accents like basil, white wine, mushrooms, etc; the additions are numerous, so get creative!

This method requires diced tomatoes either fresh or canned, your choice, tomato paste, and various aromatics – diced onions, garlic and green pepper. You can add some dried or fresh herbs. I commonly use dried oregano, basil and thyme. Rosemary can be an excellent addition as well. Its robust aromatic flavour really permeates the entire sauce adding a great taste.

Spaghetti Sauce

The other fantastic thing that I love about this dish is that it is very quick to put together. Start by sautéing your aromatics and herbs in a little oil. If you are going for the full experience you can use olive oil, but you can use whatever your preferred cooking oil is; however, I would avoid using coconut milk.

Once your aromatics and herbs are cooked down, add your tomatoes. If you use fresh tomatoes add a little water as well to help create your sauce for a chunky texture, or puree your tomatoes for a smoother finish. Simmer the sauce for about 5-10 minutes and then add some tomato paste. Add your salt and pepper and a touch of sugar to help balance the acid of the tomatoes. Cover and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. I normally let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes while I tackle something else.

Mushroom stuffed Ravioli

Once your sauce is ready you can serve it with your favorite fresh or dried pasta of any kind. I love to eat it with capellini or tortellini pasta, but whatever you fancy will work. You can also add meat or leave it as a vegetarian sauce. Either make meatballs on the side or brown off the ground meats while sautéing your aromatics and herbs.

And there you have it, a quick simple homemade tomato sauce that you can enjoy on any night. This sauce freezes well and is one of those dishes that gets better the next day!

Capellini Pasta

 

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Wood burning stone pizza oven

Old Kingston Road in the East-end Scarborough has many historical places. Fratelli Village Pizzeria is one of the restaurants that adds that cultural feel to such a close-knit community. From the beautiful wood burning stone oven to the aroma of fresh pasta in the air, we could automatically feel the love in this family-owned eatery!

Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar dip

Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Dip

One of the steeples in any authentic Italian restaurant is the Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar dip that accompanies the fresh in-house bread. What can we say…We love to play with our food and that was apparent when we used the pieces of bread to mix the Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar together. To us, it looked like a fun science experiment that we got a chance to take part in.

Seafood Risotto with Mussels, Shrimp and Spinach in a tomato sauce

Seafood Risotto

I think that it is safe to say that we have a weakness for Risotto. I had the opportunity to try Mussels for the first time and I enjoyed it. The tomato sauce from this dish gave the Mussels and Shrimp a nice, smooth texture throughout the meal. We also appreciated the size of the Shrimp. They were not hidden in the Risotto because they were front an centre. Two thumbs way up!

A fresh piece of Salmon with a slice of lemon on the side

Fresh Salmon 

Our waiter was very accommodating when it came to the Salmon. He offered us the Salmon on the side and we could not refuse. The fragrance of the Salmon has us wishing that we were on a yacht sailing, but when we squeezed the lemon on top, that brought brightness to the fish. Eating the Salmon with the Seafood Risotto was a match made in Heaven.

Four Cheese Pizza - Parmesan, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Smoked Mozzarella Cheeses

Four Cheese Pizza

You can honestly never and I mean NEVER has enough cheese *insert heart eye emoji* This four…and yes we said FOUR Cheese Pizza was nothing short of spectacular. Now you have Parmesan, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Smoked Mozzarella cheese that just gave us a permanent smile on our faces. We could taste the difference in the way the pizza was made. The stone oven is one of the highlights of Fratelli Village Pizzeria because your pizza is brought to you in a matter of a few minutes.

Shrimp Pappardelle with sliced tomatoes, fresh pasta in a cream sauce

Shrimp Pappardelle

Fresh pasta in a creamy sauce…Can you say Bon Appetite! The cream sauce with the diced tomatoes were a beautiful combination. Can you tell that we could not get enough of the shrimp dishes! This is one of the dishes that we can admit that we absolutely ate with our eyes. More please.

Fratelli Pizza - Pepperoni, Bacon, Hot Sausage, Ham and Mozzarella

Fratelli Pizza

I love to called this one the “Meat Lovers” pizza. Having Fratelli’s name on this pizza means that your mouth is in for an awakening. Some of the top Italian meats, such as Pepperoni, Hot Sausage, Bacon, and Ham, all played a role in this masterpiece. The crispiness of the Bacon was my favourite part of this pizza. We could not resist a pizza that had all the fixings when it comes to meat.

Popeye Pizza - Goat cheese, Spinach, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Tomato sauce

Popeye Pizza 

Our final pizza that we had to try was the Popeye. It had the Spinach that provides the link for its namesake. The sprinkled Prosciutto that graced the top of the Popeye could not have been better. I was not entirely sure how the Goat Cheese would work with the other ingredients but I was proven wrong. The Goat Cheese added a smooth and creaminess to the pizza that we appreciated.

Fratelli Dessert - deep fried dough with cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar. Two scoops of Vanilla gelato is placed on top.

Fratelli Dessert

WE LOVED THIS DESSERT! This has turned into our guilty pleasure. The fried dough is so light and airy that we promise you will keep going back for more. Over some great conversation, you will find that you and your dinner guests will continue to peel away at this delectable treat. The Gelato is at the top of some of the best that we have ever had! When you go to Fratelli Village Pizzeria, you MUST order this dessert!

The chefs from Fratelli Village Pizzeria & I

We could not praise Fratelli Village Pizzeria enough! Fratelli means “Brother” in Italian and you can feel the love and family-oriented ambience of this restaurant. Superb service with excellent food is a recipe for longevity in our books.

Check out Fratelli Village Pizzeria at www.fratellis.ca 

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Garlic bread herb butter and prosciutto on top served on a wooden cutting board.

We have to say the eating at Jamie’s Italian at Square One Mall was an experience that we will never forget! Jamie Oliver’s restaurant makes you feel like you are in a eatery located in the heart of Italy. He has a unique way of transporting your tastebuds to the Italian coast.

Take for instance the Garlic Bread that we ordered off of the ‘Nibbles’ section of the menu. We loved the oozy, garlicky flavour and not to mention the herb butter that was delicately spread on top. And you know that garlic bread is not garlic bread unless you have thinly sliced Prosciutto cascading on each slice. There was no way that we could have passed up that kind of starter!

Prawn linguine with arugula and fennel on top

Famous Prawn Linguine 

Are we allowed to say that these prawns were to DIE for!?! They were the perfect size because with every bite there was a prawn to be had. We could taste the freshness of the tomato sauce and the classic Italian theme of garlic could be tasted with this prawns dish. Now we know that Arugula is typically used in salad but this was an unexpected, delicious additive. Some of the most crisp, refreshing seafood we have feasted on.

Italian style steak with fresh baby tomatoes on top. Seasoned fries are on the side.

Italian Steak & Fries

We’ll have our Steak medium please! This flat iron steak was a perfect, thin lean cut that had those signature grill marks that you look for. We agreed that the Salsa Rosso Crudo created that burst of acidity that did not overpower the dish. Having Italian-spiced skinny fries with our steak was absolutely the icing on the cake. Every bite of this dish was excellently seasoned and well executed!

 

Jamie’s Italian has two locations in Canada: Square One Shopping Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Check out Jamie’s Italian at www.jamieoliver.com/italian/canada  

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Outside of Revere restaurant

As soon as you walk through the doors of 804 Danforth Avenue, you are treated like family. Scot, Camille and I needed a restaurant to go to and we were referred to Revere on the Danforth. Our waiter, Mike, took our jackets and chatted us up. Revere is noted for their modern, updated version of classic Italian dishes and we could not agree more. The ambiance was rustic and homey with a folksy unobtrusive soundtrack.

Revere is open 7 days a week and do not worry, they have a children’s menu that caters to even the most picky of eaters. The children’s menu was created in consultation with Chef James’ son! Revere has a carefully constructed menu that changes seasonally.

Eggplant Fritties with spicy Aioli on the side

Eggplant Fritti 

As you all may know by now, we are big fans of anything CRISPY! Mike, our waiter, made this perfect recommendation for an appetizer. The Eggplant Fritti consists of a beautiful, golden crust with the smooth velvety texture of the eggplant on the inside. The spicy aioli took this starter over the top!

Homemade Focaccia Bread with Balsamic Vinegar in Olive Oil dip

Homemade Focaccia Bread

Revere’s homemade Focaccia bread was beyond soft and buttery. We loved the way that the Balsamic Vinegar looked in the Olive Oil dip. Yes, we are guilty of eating with our eyes. With the portion size of the Focaccia bread, you will want to keeping eating more. We almost ordered another set of this homemade goodness.

Arctic Char with Pinot Gris wine

Arctic Char with Pinot Gris

I will admit that I am not too keen on fish and I am not a fish eater, but I can honestly say that this dish was AMAZING! The roasted Red Peppers and smoked Paprika married well with the Arctic Char. And now can we talk about the Pinot Gris… The Pinot Gris was a suggested pairing with the Arctic Char from Shawn, the co-owner. The Pinot Gris was a breath of fresh air as it cleansed our palates.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto with Madeira & Parmesan

Porcini Risotto

Scot’s main course was the Porcini Risotto. I tried some of his Risotto and it was spectacular. I had never tried Madeira or Porcini Mushrooms before but my taste buds were singing their praises. The Risotto was not too thick or thin. It held the perfect consistency. And when it comes to Parmesan, you can never have too much!

Scallop Risotto with Saffron, Roasted Red Peppers & Spinach

Scallop Risotto

I automatically reached over to Camille’s plate to try a Scallop. I loved it! I could not have asked for a more succulent sear on the Scallop. The citrus of the lemon went hand in hand with the Scallops. The elevation of this dish was thanks in part to the Saffron that was incorporated into it.

Tagliatelli with Homemade Pasta, Pork Sausage, Spicy Tomato Sauce & Parmesan

Tagliatelli

I had to go with the homemade pasta for my main. The pasta was nice and thick with a bit of a bite. The tomato sauce was spicy just the way I like it! I appreciated the small, pork sausage meatballs because they were not too big. They were bite sized so I was able to eat a meatball with each forkful.

Mini Chocolate Budino with Maldon salt on top

Mini Chocolate Budino

Now it was time for dessert. It is safe to say that we wanted to try all 3 of Revere’s desserts. We started our dessert tasting with the Mini Chocolate Budino. This dessert has a soft, mousse-like texture. Chocolate lovers will definitely eat your hearts out. We enjoyed the Maldon salt that was cascaded on the top.

Brûlée Lemon Tart with Blueberry Jam on the side

Brûlée Lemon Tart

The next dessert we tried was the Brûlée Lemon Tart. I had the opportunity of tapping the top of the dessert with my spoon to crack the harden, glassy sugar. This is the dessert that you want to share with your sweet tart!

Gala Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel drizzle & Vanilla Gelato on top

Gala Apple Bread Pudding

Our final dessert was the Gala Apple Bread Pudding. This Bread Pudding reminded us of French Toast. It was beyond fluffy and delectable with the Vanilla Gelato of your dreams. Honestly, I am still dreaming about this particular Bread Pudding. More please!

Various assortments of teas to smell from PLUCK

PLUCK Teas

Camille wanted tea to drink and Mike brought over this carefully crafted wooden box to our table. We opened it up and started smelling the various teas that Revere had to offer. We were grateful that we could smell before we tried any of the teas. Camille chose the Southbrook Berry Blend. The aroma was calming and soothing. Mike gave us even more insight on the company PLUCK as they are a local tea manufacturer from the Leaside area.

Chef James, myself & co-owner Shawn

We had one of the best dinner experiences at Revere. Local and homey are the best way to describe how you will feel from the time you enter this restaurant until the time you are ready to leave. We appreciate the hospitality that was shown to us and we will absolutely be back for more!

Check out Rivere at www.revereto.com

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