My close friend and great, great granddaughter (in sorority terms) gave me this base for a simple okra-tomato sauce. She said, “you can put it on anything!” I’ve since had it on orzo, Israeli couscous, cheese ravioli, quinoa, and orecchiette – and I still think there are many more possibilities. Add shrimp or chicken sausage and get some extra protein, or make it more saucy and add some other veggies and turn it into a stew.
- 1/2 large can of diced tomatoes (whole can to make it more saucy)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes (preferably chopped Campari, but whole cherry works too)
- 1 cup chopped okra in 1/2 in pieces, washed with ends trimmed
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped
- one clove garlic, finely chopped (I LOVE my garlic zoom)
- 2 tsp EVOO
- 1/2 TB salt-free Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- S&P to taste
Heat the EVOO in a medium pot, add garlic and onions and sauté for about five minutes under low-medium heat. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, okra and fresh tomatoes, seasoning and mix. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
I was conflicted about the direction of my meal tonight. Vegetarian or chicken? What kind of pasta? I decided that I needed a little meat tonight, and that I would preserve some of the sauce for a veggie lunch tomorrow. So I boiled two small pots of water; one for a small portion of orecchiette that had been hanging out in my pantry for a while, and the other for half a cup of orzo. I sautéed a chopped link of Aidells Habanero and Green Chili chicken sausage, mixed it with half of the sauce, and poured it over the orecchiette. The rest of the sauce went over the orzo and I let it cool before putting it in the fridge for tomorrow.
I topped the orecchiette with grated Parmesan and chopped basil and it was so yummy! This is the first time I have used cherry tomatoes in the sauce and I loved the way they burst when I bit into them. The spice in the chicken sausage (and my extra teaspoon of red pepper flakes) made it nice and spicy.
As for the orzo, I added some feta, black olives and chopped basil and put it in the fridge overnight. The Mediterranean flavors went well with the orzo and the crunch of the okra and it made for a tasty lunch. But I think I like this sauce better when it’s hot. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s winter and cold!