Tomato Relish

Tomato RelishOk, This will be a quick post.  We have a friend that has had our Tomato Relish and wants it, so here it is.

Oh, and the difference between relish, tapenade, salsa, chutney and all other sorts of toppings?

Quick overview.

Pickle: preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.

Relish: A piquant or spicy condiment eaten with food to add flavor; specifically a sauce made of chopped pickled vegetables.

Chutney: a spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar, originating in India.

Salsa: a spicy tomato sauce.

Tapenade: a Provençal paste or dip, made from black olives, capers, and anchovies.


Basically, a relish is chopped and pickled vegetables, and a chutney is a particular type of relish (of which Tomato Relish is NOT).  Also, Even though this uses tomatoes, it is not spicy, so it is not a salsa.  Also?  No capers, olives, or anchovies, so tapenade is completely out.

“Relish” will have to do.


Chop up a couple of tomatoes.  Finely dice red onion.  Put them in a bowl.

Tomato Relish








Chop some fresh basil (love that stuff!). Add it to the bowl.

Tomato Relish Tomato Relish

Add olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and stir together.  Oh, and a good balsamic vinegar should be a taste thing, not an expensive thing.  $18-20 for a bottle should be sufficient, don’t go get that $60 bottle, and for the love of all that is good in the world, do NOT get the $4 bottle!  it won;t be balsamic vinegar, check the label.  If it says “musk wine”, then ditch it; that stuff is vile and not actually balsamic vinegar.  Wine musk is the dregs at the bottom of the wine barrel after they take out most of the wine.  Eww.

We buy from Mountain Town Olive Oil Company in Provo, at the River Bottoms shopping plaza.

Oh, and the relish is great right after made, but even better after a few hours.  But not the next day, not so much, so eat it fresh.

Tomato Relish








Buy or make some Crustini.  We bought here because we were in a hurry, but a decent loaf of crusty bread cut into 1/4″ slices, lightly brushed with olive oil then broiled until toasted will do just fine.  If you want to be authentic, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub all over the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven, while still hot.  Mmmmm.
Tomato Relish







Put some of the relish on the Crustini and enjoy.

Tomato Relish









Tomato Relish
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 bowl
Simple, fresh, and delicious topping for Crustinis or crusty bread
  • 4 cups diced tomato (2-3 large tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. May eat immediately, or let it blend for an hour or two. Eat while fresh, does NOT keep very well overnight.
  3. Server with Crustini or on slices of crusty bread.


Fettuccine Alfredo

fettuccine alfredoWho isn’t a fan of Fettuccine Alfredo?  It’s creamy, cheesy, warm, and delicious.  And it is such a simple perfection; how would you improve on it?

Easy.  Let people do with it as they want to.  Set out bowls of anything you can imagine would be good with Alfredo, and let people mix it up as they want.  Peas, broccoli florets, bacon crumbles, sauteed mushrooms.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.  But my favorite is always Blackened Cajun Chicken thighs and tomatoes.  Let the creamy Alfredo cool off the spicy cajun seasonings, with some ripe tomatoes to bring it all together.

To over simplify the experience, it’s awesome!

Start by mixing up the cajun spice blend.

Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel so they are somewhat dry.  Sprinkle some Cajun seasoning on it and slap it into a hot skillet.  The amount of spice used depends on your heat tolerance, but a gentle even coating will go a long way (more than you would salt it, less than a dry rub).  Cook them until they are cooked through, then turn up the heat a little and sear them until the spices turn a dark brown.  You can go all the way to blackened (as per the name) but I am not a fan of smoke in the house if I don’t have to. 😀

fettuccine alfredoNow chop all the vegetables that you want and put them in individual bowls.  Don’t forget to saute the mushrooms (if you like the fungus)!

fettuccine alfredo fettuccine alfredo

Now make the Fettuccine Alfredo!  This part is usually last, because it cools quickly, and if it sits around it can resemble glue.  Don’t worry if it does that!  You can plan for it!  Just keep about a cup of the water from cooking the pasta, and set it aside.  if the Alfredo gets too thick, you can add a little of the water and stir it in.  Like magic, it will be perfect again!

fettuccine alfredoOK, we all know it isn’t considered good for you.  But that’s fine; just don’t eat it every day, and eat it in moderation.  Yeah, there is an entire sermon in that statement, maybe later. 😀

Cook the pasta.  Save a cup of the water, and drain the pasta.  Then you put in the butter, and let it melt.  Toss the pasta in the butter.  Now pour in the cream, salt and pepper.  Toss the pasta in the cream.  Add the grated cheese and stir together over low heat, and watch it all come together.

fettuccine alfredo fettuccine alfredo

Adjust for salt and pepper if you need to.  Don’t be shy, as it can take more seasoning than you think.  Just taste it as you go; nobody likes salty Alfredo.  (Who am I kidding?  It would have to be like a salt-lick for me to stay away!)

Serve immediately, and let people mix and match whatever they want.  This one is my favorite.  You should go find what is yours.

fettuccine alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Classic creamy Italian comfort food.
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked and drained, still hot (saving 1 cup of it's water)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), cut up
  • 1¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add butter to the hot pasta. Allow to melt, and stir together.
  2. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stir together.
  3. Add Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese; gently stir together until it forms a cream sauce.
  4. If sauce becomes too thick, add some of the water and stir.


Spaghetti alla Bolognese

spaghetti alla bologneseI am actually not sure if this is really spaghetti alla bolognese.  But is it really tasty, and when given to me was only named Ragout.

Story time.

We always are on the lookout for good restaurants, especially those little ones in out of the ay places with really good food.  When we lived in Florida we found many like that, but one of our favorites was this small Italian place tucked into a strip mall behind a grocery store.  (It was off of Waters and Dale Mabry in Tampa, if that helps anyone with a local map).  The people running the place were very welcoming, professional, and friendly.  They spoke with a heavy accent, and I am pretty sure the lady that ran the kitchen didn’t speak much English.  It had the feel of authentic food, and everything we tried there was delicious.

The best, of course, was their Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  Rich with flavor, full of vegetables, and obviously slow cooked over a several hours, it was incredible.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

Then we moved across the country.

I have tried several recipes for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  And they were good, but not as good as that place in Tampa.  And then my friend offered his wife’s recipe to me.  I knew it was authentic Italian, since he and his wife are authentic Italian.  In Italy.  So I made her sauce.  And it is AWESOME.  In fact, it is better than the one in Tampa (although if I find myself in Tampa, I will still go back to that restaurant).  It is one of my more cherished recipes.  And now I have permission to share it with the world.

I’ve included the original in Italian at the end of the port, plus it’s Google translated version.  My version here trades out the wine.  Feel free to use the original, as it’s even better!

Also, I usually triple the recipe, as my kids eat a lot, and for this, I like leftovers.

Start by chipping all your vegetables.

spaghetti alla bologneseMelt the butter. (I never said it was low fat)

spaghetti alla bologneseadd the vegetables.

spaghetti alla bolognese  Saute them until they are wilted, or onions are translucent.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd pork, beef, and pancetta. Cook for ten minutes.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd beef stock, and balsamic vinegar. Reduce slightly.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd crushed tomatoes, and half the vegetable stock. Stir it together.  Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, and gradually adding the other half of the vegetable stock.

spaghetti alla bolognesespaghetti alla bolognese

Once the sauce has reduced enough to be sauce, add the cream (or milk).

spaghetti alla bologneseCook the pasta al dente and season generously.

spaghetti alla bolognese


Spaghetti alla Bolognese
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Authentic Italian ragout
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3½ ounce lean ground pork
  • 3½ ounce lean ground beef
  • 1¾ ounce pancetta
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 9 ounce crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (may replace with 2 Tablespoons milk)
  1. Saute onion, celery, and carrot in the butter until wilted, or onions are translucent.
  2. Add pork, beef, and pancetta. Cook for ten minutes.
  3. Add beef stock, and balsamic vinegar. Reduce slightly.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, and half the vegetable stock. Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, and gradually adding the other half of the vegetable stock.
  5. Once the sauce has reduced enough to be sauce, add the cream (or milk).
  6. Cook your pasta al dente and season generously.


Original ragout recipe:

Pulire e tritare grossolanamente  una cipolla media, una costola di sedano e una carota e farle soffriggere in 50 G di burro.

Quando si sono appassite aggiungere la carne macinata ( 100 G di polpa di maiale, 100 G di polpa di vitello, 50 G di pancetta) e cuocere per 10 minuti.

Versare un bicchiere di vino rosso e farlo evaporare per metà; aggiungere 259 G di passata di pomodoro, sale, pepe e 1/2 bicchiere di brodo vegetale (fatto facendo bollire nell”acqua le verdure: carote, patate, sedano, etc. e poi togliere le verdure e usare il brodo).

Incoperchiare eabbassare la fiamma al minimo facendo cuocere almeno per 2 ore, aggiungendo man mano 1/2 tazza di brodo.

Quando il ragout si è ristretto abbastanza (a fine cottura) aggiungere due cucchiai di latte o un cucchiaio di panna.

Cuocere la pasta al dente e condire generosamente.

Translated to English

Clean and coarsely chop a medium onion, a stick of celery and a carrot and fry them in 50 g of butter.

When you are wilted add the minced meat (100 g of lean pork, 100 g of lean beef, 50 g of bacon(panchetta)) and cook for 10 minutes.

Pour a glass of red wine and let it evaporate to half; 259 G add tomato puree, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup vegetable broth (made ​​by boiling in “water vegetables: carrots, potatoes, celery, etc.., and then remove the vegetables and use the broth).

Put the lid and reduce heat to low and cook for at least 2 hours, gradually adding 1/2 cup of broth.

When the ragout has shrunk enough (after cooking), add two tablespoons of milk or a spoonful of whipped cream.

Cook the pasta al dente and season generously.