Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Hi, I am Tom Popatis, you might have seen me before as a Firehouse chef. Today, I am in my home. We are going to be making a spaghetti dinner, essentially we are going to cover making a spaghetti sauce. If you have seen on monkeysee.
com before, I actually did a segment on making homemade Italian sausage. We are going to be using my sausage today to make spaghetti sauce. We are going to show you how to boil pasta. A couple of little tricks to make it easier for you, and essentially, we are putting this whole thing together for a dinner this evening. So, let's get started. We are going to start out first by making some pasta sauce. Essentially, what I have got here, I have got about 28 to 32 ounces of tomato puree in this pot. We want to have you just put the puree and its just simple, get yourself a can, or big can, or a couple of cans of tomato puree. Put your tomato puree in a pot, start cooking it on low heat. We are going to have this, we are barely at a boil right now, thats where we want to be at this point. What we are going to do -- in another segment we actually made homemade Italian sausage. This is my homemade Italian sausage, we are going to cook this, we are going to put it in raw, and we are going to let this sit the best part of the day, and its going to simmer all day, its going to cook. The flavors from this sausage, the garlic, and the pork flavor and everything else will come out into the sauce, and it will give a beautiful flavor to the sauce. But first, we are going to add a few different spices here. The sausage has quite a bit of spice in it. You can do this with Strasbourg sausage because it has the spices in it, but maybe not quite as strong, and quite some of what I have, but it will give you the same basic flavor and same basic idea. Well, what I am going to do, I am going to start out with some basil. I am going to take, like I said, I have got probably about 32 ounces of sauce here, and I am going to measure out -- probably what I should do is just pop this top off. I am going to measure out probably in the neighborhood of about half -- let's say about two teaspoons, about teaspoons of sweet basil. We are going to put just about, I am going to estimate, probably about a half a teaspoon of oregano, go very light on oregano, its kind of strong. We are just going to put a little bit of oregano in. Now, rosemary, we are going to put about half to one teaspoon of rosemary. Now, the key to rosemary is -- thats probably good right there, what you want to do is you want to crush this. The way you crush your rosemary is just take in, just kind of roll it in your fingers, just like that, kind of cup your palm, and roll it in your fingers and bust it up, that gets the flavor out in it, and that will allow that flavor to go through the sauce. So, we got our rosemary, and we are going to use a little bit of thyme, just a sprinkle, okay, we will measure it out. We will go about a quarter teaspoon on this, because we dont want to go too much, so about a quarter is about like that, that goes in. Now, we are going to give this stuff a stir. So, I am just going to stir it very lightly, just incorporate those spices, kind of move them around. Were going to kick our heat up just a touch, because what I want to do is I want to get this warm enough that when it starts to cook the sausage is going to get a nice bit of heat to it at first. Then once we get that heated up for about a half hour to an hour, then we are going to cut that back to a real low, low, low, slow simmer, to barely a bubble, and then we are going to go from there.