Q: After making homemade tomato sauce, should you let it cool down to room temperature before putting in the fridge? My Nana always did, then I heard that letting it cool down is a bad idea because of bacteria. The other night I heard Gordon Ramsay say it turns sour if you put it in the fridge before it cools. In other words, to cool or not to cool, that is the question.
—Denise Egenberger LeBlanc, Naugatuck, Conn.
A: I checked in with Anna Boiardi, author (with Stephanie Lyness) of the new cookbook, "Delicious Memories: Recipes and Stories from the Chef Boyardee Family" (Stewart Tabori & Chang, $27.50).
"After making homemade tomato sauce, I let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator, this is how I was taught," Boiardi said in an e-mail. (Boiardi is the family's real name; they began to spell it out phonetically on their labels as "Boyardee" to help consumers with pronunciation.)
"However, I did a test today and made a batch of sauce: I put half in the fridge hot and let the other half cool to room temp. I can tell you that the taste was the same," Boiardi added. "On a side note I would think that it's harder on the refrigerator if you are putting a hot dish in there as it's going to bring up the temperature in the fridge."
Here's a sauce recipe from Boiardi's book. It's called "Uncle Hector's tomato sauce" and it is one of the sauces that launched the Chef Boyardee brand.
Anna Boiardi adapted the recipe here to use fresh plum tomatoes. The book recipe calls for a 32-ounce can of peeled plum tomatoes, preferably imported Italian. That's an odd size. A 28-ounce can will work for dried pasta but more sauce will be needed if you're using fresh pasta. If so, use a 28-ounce can and about half of a 14-ounce can. This recipe makes enough sauce for 1 pound of fresh tagliatelle, Boiardi writes in her cookbook. You'll need a food mill for this recipe; food processors don't strain out the seeds and any stray skin, she said.
Wash 10 to 12 (3 pounds) plum tomatoes. Drop into a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove, let tomatoes cool slightly, remove skins.
Cut peeled tomatoes in half, seed, chop. Set a food mill over a large bowl. Work the chopped tomatoes through the food mill until all that's left in the mill is some drying tomato pulp and seeds. Discard pulp, seeds.
Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the 1 onion, chopped, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and pureed tomato. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer partially covered for 40 minutes.
Stir in 1 teaspoon tomato puree about halfway through the simmering to add color, thickness. After 40 minutes, stir in 5 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips. Cook 5 minutes more.
Twitter @billdaleyCopyright © 2015, CT Now