Feeling Saucy?

Take advantage of vine-ripe tomatoes while they are still in season with these crowd-pleasing recipes.

LEARN FROM LESLIE “If you double the [sauce] recipe, use two separate pans to ensure the ingredients and seasonings are equal and accurate.”

If you’ve been tempted all summer by a large basket of vine-ripe tomatoes at the produce stands, well, here’s your chance to scoop one up and make sure it goes to good use. One basket will make this recipe two to three times. Nanny’s Red Sauce is one of my favorite recipes that I always have on hand. Whether it’s used as the sauce for Chicken Parmesan, placed in a bowl as a dipping sauce for a meatball appetizer, or simply tossed with pasta, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next gathering.

Nanny’s Red Sauce

8 cups fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all ingredients in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes. Ladle ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Be sure to get all the juices too. Pulse until smooth for a creamy texture. Keep warm in a saucepan on the stove before tossing with your favorite pasta. Makes 5 cups

Chicken Parmesan

1½ pounds chicken tenders
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Nanny’s Red Sauce
8 slices Muenster cheese, thinly sliced
Fresh basil for garnish

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Between two sheets of wax paper, pound chicken tenders with a meat pounder or rolling pin until ¼-inch thick; set aside.

In a small, shallow dish, beat eggs and water with a fork; set aside. In another small, shallow dish, combine Panko, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter and olive oil at medium-high heat. While skillet is heating to medium-high, dip chicken tender into egg mixture, then into Panko mixture, coating both sides evenly. Place in hot skillet. Repeat with rest of the chicken. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Place chicken on top of Nanny’s Red Sauce in an ovenproof dish. Top with two thin slices of Muenster cheese, and broil 2 to 3 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with fresh basil. Serves 4

Savory Mini-Meatballs

½ pound pork sausage
½ pound ground chuck
½ onion, grated
1 carrot, grated
¼ cup fine breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup ketchup
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Shape the mini-meatballs with a melon ball scoop. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve mini-meatballs with toothpicks and warmed Nanny’s Red Sauce for dipping. Makes 38

For more recipes and fun entertaining ideas, visit dearpartydiary.com.

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