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Red pepper, tomatoes, apples, oh my!

By Gabe Berke-Williams

Section: Arts

October 26, 2007

Lets face it. The pasta sauce in Usdan is not tomato sauce. It has tomatoes, yes, and a generally liquid consistency, but it is not tomato sauce.

Compare it with the tomato soup one day. Any difference? Didnt think so.
What can we do about this less-than-appetizing aspect of Usdan? Well, a couple things.

For the less ambitious (sorry, practical), theres the spice route. As a very wise man once said, lets kick it up a notch. Also: Bam.

The first spice is red pepper flakes. Sometimes theyre available, but more often theyre not. I recommend heading over to Hannaford and buying yourself a jar. It can go on pasta, salads, sandwiches, pizza;

pretty much everything that Usdan serves can be improved with a dash of fiery red pepper.

The classic Italian spices also work well in the sauce: oregano – its sweet AND savory – basil, salt and pepper (obvious, but do you use them?). Any or all of these will make Usdan a far more enjoyable experience than you thought possible. The above also works on pizza, and probably the tomato soup too.

Of course, if youre less practical (and really do want some good tomato sauce), you can do worse than making it yourself. Heres a recipe I came up with for tomato sauce with applesauce and apples.I present Applesauce Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

Olive oil [available at the C-store]

One small onion, chopped in half then into thin slices

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, drained of most of its juice (I used Nicola

San Marzano plum tomatoes, which smelled amazing).

1/2 clove garlic, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon all spice

Two teaspoons basil

1/2 cup applesauce (I used a single-serving plastic cup).

One small apple, mashed with a potato masher or just diced finely [available at the
C-store, but please buy one from Hannaford;

theyre so much better.

Buy a Honeycrisp or a Pink Lady if you can, they are like Fujis but better.]

One pound of linguini [available at the C-store]

In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until its hot. Toss in the onion and move it around so its coated with olive oil. Cover and leave until the onions turn brown/black and kind of stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and roughly crush them with a hard rubber spatula. Add the allspice, basil, applesauce, and mashed apple. Cover and put on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the linguini and cook according to package directions. Drain.

Enjoy!

Note: the sauce might be kind of soupy, so I suggest using a slotted spoon to serve it. Avoid McCormicks spices if you can, as their spices are a lot more expensive than the generic Hannaford ones.

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