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, Tom Popatis, I am back, we are making pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, if you will. At this point our spices are immersed in our puree. What we are going to do now is we are going to add our sausage. This is a homemade sausage, the homemade sausage that we made in our previous segment. We are just going to drop these in, kind of push them down, get them in there, and just go around and put them in as best as you can. There is a lot of sausage here, but its going to feed a lot of people, and thats good. So, we are just going to drop these in, push them down in there, get them in as best you can, thats it, right there, you put this back. My hands are wiped, and we are going to push this down, and I want to cover these up and get them in the sauce as best we can, there it is. Now, this is going to get covered, weve got it on low heat. On my scale I am at about two-and-a-half right now. We are going to let this sit at about two-and-a-half, and its going to start to bubble. We are going to let this bubble, and we are going to keep it going, and this thing is going to go all day long, so we are going to let it sit and simmer for the rest of the day. Once we get close to time to eat, or the time we are going to start to drop the pasta and cook the pasta, thats when we are going to come back and we are going to show you how to put this whole dish together and how everything goes together real nicely. Our sauce has been cooking for a couple of hours now. We had a real low, low, slow boil going here. I have actually cut it back a little bit. As you can see theres a whole bunch of grease collected on the top on this sauce which cooks out, or if you use meatballs or any type of meat, that meat is going to render all fats. The fat is going to come to the top. If you want to make really super, super, good sauce, take this out, take the pot, let it cool down, just in the evening, just let it off and let it cool down. Take this, put it in a refrigerator, in the morning, take that hardened grease and take a fork and just pull it all off, and reheat it again. This is the way my grandmother used to do it, and this is what she learned in the old country back in Sicily. But, as far as today we are going to use the sauce today. So, you can see I have got a little boil going here, I want to keep it just as low as I can keep it. But now, what I am again to do is I am going to take -- I am going to spoon this grease off. I am just using this large spoon here, and you just kind of very gently push it down into -- I will do it on this edge, you can just tip your edge so that that grease runs down into your spoon, try to keep it from picking up all the sauce, and you can go along the edge. It likes to collect on the edges. You can see how the grease just kind of goes right into that spoon like that. Take a bowl, just pour it right in there, just like that. We are going to go around, and we are going to try to spoon off as much of this grease as we can. Greasy spaghetti is a result of the fact that someone didnt take and do this procedure. People that eat tomato sauce and eat spaghetti sauce thats kind of greasy and get indigestion, the grease is what actually gives them indigestion. From the health benefits of it, you have got a leaner pasta sauce. You dont have as much fat in your diet by doing this. So, this is actually a healthy thing to do, but it also makes the spaghetti sauce a lot better. What you will find is that a spaghetti sauce that has very little grease in it is actually -- the sauce itself will stick to the spaghetti, otherwise the grease is what sticks to the spaghetti. So, essentially what you want is you want to spoon this stuff off, get it out of there, get rid of it, throw it away. Dont put it in the sink, it will tend to clog your drain, because it does harden up, because it is grease. Here we go around the edge. I am just kind of spooning around the edge there, trying to get as much as I can, but it will collect in your drains and clog your drains, so find a container or something that you can put it in, and just put it in the garbage. But, you can see I have got quite a bit of fat off of this so far, and its leaning out pretty good. So there, you can see the difference, thats how much fat we took off of that spaghetti sauce. We are done with that portion, now I am going to give this a stir, kind of move those sausages, look at those sausages, see how they are nice, they didnt fall apart, but they are starting to cook up, they are almost done actually. We are going to give that a little stir, we are going to put the lid back on. Now, this time if I want to keep the lid, if I want to keep things from bubbling over, and you get the splash all over the place, you can see how it splashed on the lid, but if your heat gets to be too much, just take and kind of tip your lid a little bit, just like that, and that should help keep the heat from collecting in there, and get all that bubbling. You are going to get a little bit, but we want to keep it real slow. So, at this point we are going to let this simmer some more, and if we get any more grease come off, we are going to come back, we will spoon that off, and then we should be ready for pasta.