This sauce is incredibly easy, and it turned out very very delicious and quite beautiful, with its rich dark red broth. It’s a little like sofrito, because I cooked it for quite a while, so that it would be intensely flavored. And it’s a little like puttanesca, because it has olives and capers in it. And the port wine gives it a deep sweet acidity. It’s a drunken sofrito puttanesca!!
We had it with the roasted butternut squash and greens pie, and the combination was uncannily good – a little sweet, a little tart, a little richly acidic. My boys ate it with gemelli pasta – also a good choice!
Here’s bluesman Bill Samuels singing about Port Wine.
2 cups roasted diced tomatoes or one 15 oz can roasted diced tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
basil, oregano, rosemary
red pepper flakes to taste
2 t. tomato paste
1 1/2 t. capers, diced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 t. smoked paprika
1/3 cup port wine (ruby)
freshly ground pepper
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the shallot and herbs. When the shallot starts to brown, add the mushrooms and garlic. When everything starts to get crispy, add the tomato paste, and stir everything together well. When the pan starts to get a bit dry, pour in the port wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan till it’s clean. Let it cook for a couple of minutes, till the sauce is thickish and syrupy, and then add the capers and olives, stir to combine thoroughly. Add the paprika and the tomatoes. Stir well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally and using your spoon to break down the ingredients into tiny pieces as everything cooks. Cook for 20 minutes to half an hour, until it’s thick and pasty. Add water as needed to keep it a bit saucy, and to keep it from sticking to the pan. Season with plenty of black pepper. You shouldn’t need salt because of the olives and capers.