Arcimboldo’s Summer

Arcimboldo’s Summer
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was the master of these pre-surrealist paintings of figures formed of grouped objects (not always food).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Jim Harrison’s Pizza Sauce

I first came across Jim Harrison through the writings of Tom McGuane, my favourite novelist. Like McGuane, his old friend Harrison is a novelist and screenwriter. He is also a well respected poet. But what we're interested in here is his food writing, which is very entertainingly on display in his volume The Raw and the Cooked. This recipe is adapted from one in that book and it is the most delicious simple sauce I've ever cooked.

Pizza Sauce of the Gods

Originally intended to go with meatballs, and adapted by me for pasta, this makes a world class pizza topping. Cook for about 30 to 35 minutes and finish on top of a blind baked pizza base for 10 minutes. Use 500g tomatoes and there will be enough sauce to completely cover one pizza base generously and two frugally. You don't necessarily have to add cheese or anything else (eg chorizo) to the pizza topped with this sauce (although they will go wonderfully), because it's delicious and classy as is.

Pour a liberal amount of good olive oil into a baking pan.

Slice tomatoes of any size in half and place them in the pan. (Don't bother removing seeds or any of that nonsense.)

(Use, for example, 250g of plum or cherry tomatoes per person.)

Sprinkle them liberally with chopped garlic and fresh basil and thyme. (Lots of all of these. I've used about 10 cloves of garlic to good effect.)

Cook for about 40 minutes in a hot oven.

If you want a smoother sauce, chop the cooked tomatoes, garlic and herbs roughly with scissors so you end with the desired consistency. If you're using smaller tomatoes this isn't necessary. Pour over cooked pizza base or pasta and serve.

Goes very nicely with a simple salad of romaine lettuce with a garlicky vinaigrette.

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