Henry Mancini's Ten-Minute Tomato Sauce
3 tbsps. olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced chopped yellow onions
1/2 tsp. minced carrot (or 1/2 tsp. sugar)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
8 ripe plum Italian tomatoes, peeled and chapped (or one no. 3 can Italian plum tomatoes flavored with basil)
2 tbsps. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Half of a small bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1. Heat olive oil until hot; cook over low heat until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic, cook over low heat about 30 seconds.
2. Add tomatoes (if canned tomatoes are used, drain well before using), tomato paste, basil, bay leaf, seasonings to taste. Cook over high heat about 8 minutes, stirring often. Remove bay leaf; spoon sauce over hot cooked paste in serving dish. Garnish with minced parsley, toss lightly with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.
Variations: For a heartier version, saute 1/2 lb lean, top-quality ground sirloin with onions until crumbly and lightly browned. Or pour the tomato over 1 1/2 lbs. cleaned, filleted flounder; poach filets in sauce until tender (about 8 minutes). Delete cheese. Serves 3-4.
Henry Mancini's Vermicelli with Garlic-Olive Oil Sauce
For the pasta:
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 qts. water
8 ozs. vermicelli
1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil (corn or olive)
1. Add salt to rapidly boiling water; bring to rolling boil.
2. Add vermicelli to boiling water; cook uncovered until barely tender (about 6 mins.) Do not overcook. Add vegetable oil to pot during last two mins. of cooking time to prevent vermicelli from sticking together when drained.
3. Drain in colander; turn onto heated serving platter.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup top quality olive oil
2 or 3 peeled, minced cloves of garlic
1/3 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese
1.Heat, but do not boil olive oil; turn off heat. Add minced garlic, cook lightly about 1 min. Add parsley, season to taste.
2. Stir sauce into hot vermicelli. Serve at once with ample sprinklings of grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese.
Henry Mancini advises, "All pasta should be cooked al dente. Remove vermicelli from its boiling water while it's still semi-solid in feel to avoid a stewed, soft-textured pudding."