It is cozily stormy and wintry in my part of Australia today, so it is a perfect time to close my eyes and imagine that I’m back in the warm, lush gardens of the Kroonluchter Atelier De Rode Hoeve outside Amsterdam.
Being the only one in the garden enhanced the sense of utter serenity and stillness I felt as I sat on a rough stone bench by the pond and absentmindedly stroked the soft fur of a kitty who nuzzled my hand and purred loudly.
I smiled at the delightful hodgepodgery of the garden, a modern swing in chrome and black just down the path from a perfectly splendid Scandinavian gate intricately carved and painted a marvelous blue.
I was smitten by the pretty little cottages alight with the glow of dozens of chandeliers hanging inside them.
Wrought iron swans sat gracefully among the reeds while wrought iron geese cavorted in a gently burbling creek.
This was my favorite cottage of all. How I’d love to have one like it in my garden someday, a whimsical blue hideaway perfect for long afternoon naps and cozy afternoons losing myself in a good story.
After such an inspiring day in the fresh air, comfort food is definitely in order. Pasta is always comforting to me, especially with homemade sauce and cheesy garlic bread.
This is one of my favorite sauces, particularly rich and flavorful because I roast the tomatoes with garlic before I puree them and add caramelized onions and savory sausage. Roasting the tomatoes adds time to the cooking process, but it’s absolutely worth it.
I like this dish best with my brother Ryan’s garlic bread: a lovely crusty loaf sliced and spread thickly with a mixture of butter, mayonnaise, grainy mustard, green onion, fresh garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Place slathered bread under the broiler until the topping bubbles and browns. Serve hot.
What is your favorite comfort food on an overcast day?
Roasted Tomato Sauce with Sausage
20 Roma tomatoes, washed, dried and halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh herbs of your choice, chopped fine (rosemary or oregano or basil)
1 pound good quality ground sausage
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line baking sheet with baking paper (tomatoes will stick to aluminum foil).
- In large bowl gently stir tomato halves, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until tomatoes are coated.
- Place tomatoes on baking sheet cut side up.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes (or longer) until tomatoes are well-roasted and garlic is lightly browned.
- Let cool 5-10 minutes.
- While tomatoes are cooling, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and fry, stirring regularly, until onions are almost caramelized.
- Add fresh herbs and cook 1-2 minutes. Pour onion into large saucepan and set aside.
- Return frying pan to heat and add sausage, frying until well-browned. Add to saucepan with onion-herb mixture.
- Pour tomatoes into food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Add to saucepan with onions and sausage. Stir to combine and heat to boiling. Lower heat and simmer gently twenty minutes.
- Pour over hot pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan.