Baking Italian Tomato Sauce And Enjoying Jimmy's At Home

Categories: Eat This

Jimmy's Sausage Spaghetti.jpg
Mama mia
Jimmy's is one of the first iconic brands I encountered when moving to Dallas. While I've seen their sausage on many menus, my favorite way to enjoy the DiCarlo's links is at home on a Sunday with a bottle of red wine and a mountain of spaghetti. If my story in this week's issue inspires your own trip to Jimmy's, grab a pound or two of spicy Italian to take home and enjoy like so:

Pick your favorite Italian tomato sauce recipe. Any will work and you likely already have a favorite, so I'm not going to try to force something new on you. Follow the directions and work in a heavy cast iron dutch oven. When you get to the boring part, the part where they tell you to stir and simmer for hours, throw the whole pot, covered with a lid, in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Baking your sauce, instead of simmering it on the stove, takes a little longer (you'll need to add to the cooking time by up to an hour) but the heat is applied much more evenly this way. Instead of searing heat coming from only the bottom of the pan, it's applied more gently and from every angle. The sauce will reduce down more slowly and there's absolutely no chance it will scorch on the bottom of the pan. Just toss it in the oven and wait -- no stirring required.

When the sauce is ready, put it back on your stove and brown some sausage in a second pan. When they have sufficient color, float the sausages in the sauce and simmer very gently till done. Cook up some pasta, toss it in the sauce, top the results with the links of sausage and enjoy one of Dallas' best local ingredients.


Location Info

Jimmy's Food Store

4901 Bryan St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
CitizenKane
CitizenKane

A couple of things:

1.  Any accolades heaped on Jimmy's needs to acknowledge it's forerunner - Al's.  I have it on good source that DiCarlo worked at Al's and learned the sausage making technique there.

2.  Do you boil your pasta with the lid on or off ?   I have heard it makes a difference.

3.  I usually pre-cook the sausage in a covered skilled to basically steam the sausage through; then remove the lid and turn the heat up to brown in same pan.

4.  I will try your dutch oven approach on my next batch.

5.  Do you use whole or crushed tomatoes in making your sauce?

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Love Jimmy's!  When we moved from the Northeast, this place made us feel at home.  Back then options were few and far between.  

BTW, baking sauce is a much better method than the "grandma" method of messes and toiling for days. 

Evaluate the Plate
Evaluate the Plate

Jimmy's at home is one of my favorites! I make lasagna using only Jimmy's ingredients, which includes their ricotta, mozzarella, and lasagna noodles. You can't find better ricotta in town. It does add a few extra calories, but everyone has splurge every once in while.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

1) my cover story acknowledges Al's and the roll it played for Italian Americans in Dallas for 37 years.2)lid off, but only because I'm tasting the pasta every few moments3)that's a fine method, some poach, Jimmy's sausage did not break when cooked my way.4) sweet5) always whole, broken up with my hands, quite carefuly as described by Primo_timpano

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Leave the top off of the pasta pot.  This is a warning, not my preference.

Lots of ways to cook the sausage.  My mother would add enough water in the skillet to cover the bottom third of the sausage.  Never covered it though.  After the sausage cooked she would brown it without the water.

Dutch oven is an exceptional idea.  Look at or read Alton Brown's recipe for marinara.  While he doesn't use a dutch oven, he uses the oven to very slowly cook fresh tomatoes.  The slow cooking removes a lot of the water and concentrates the flavor.  I go to the farmer's market and get a few boxes of "seconds" (they are under the vendors' counters).  The unused tomatoes freeze well and even after thawing are as good as almost all fresh tomatoes I have run across the last two or three years.  I don't know what it is but tomato flavor seems to be in decline, even from local farmers.  The best tomatoes are now homegrown.  Pressed for time or just inclination, canned tomatoes are usually better than grocery tomatoes.  Certified San Marzano and Hunts are my favorites.  Only get whole plum tomatoes.  Incidentally, Jimmy's carries a range of canned tomatoes and several pasta brands, including the De Cecco referenced below.

Whole or crushed is a mater of preference.  I do not like crushed tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.  Rather, get whole tomatoes and roughly chop with a knife or pulverize slightly with your hands (do this in a large bowel placed in your kitchen sink and wear clothes you don't mind being sprayed by an errant tomato.  If you rely on an apron it has to be a full apron as most spray hits me in the stomach or chest).  Seeding the tomato is another option.  It is very easy to do with canned tomatoes or the oven roasted tomatoes (just use your hands and scoop them out).  If you desire a smooth texture and less seeds, invest in a food mill (I recommend Oxo).  This will produce a consistent sauce free of chunks; it will also filter out seeds and skin.  I like chunks, though, and use my mill for other things (excellent for soups, especially seafood soup).  A blender (I recommend immersion blenders) also work, but do not strain seeds and skin.

Lastly, the pasta makes a big difference.  Find a brand you like and if you have to pay a premium, so be it.  I use De Cecco.  It is generally about $2.00 per pound.  Pasta shape makes a big difference in how the sauce latches on to the pasta and the tooth feel.  Italians relish their marinara the way Texans relish their chili.  Big debates about olive oil, butter, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, oregano, thyme, basil, technique, temperature time, type of pasta, and how heavily to salt the water.  They also debate everything else they cook.  There are no rules on this, but you will develop preferences.  Embrace them and you will be prepared to argue toe-to-toe with the next Italian grandmother you meet.

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

I think Jimmy's mozarella is bland.  Try Farmstead brand (made in Texas) at Whole Foods.  It is creamy wonderful.

Jimmy's has one of the best Niro d'Avola wine selections I have seen.  Better than found in the liquor stores of Bergen County.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

"Italians relish their marinara the way Texans relish their chili"..........me and my kin agree; shite man, you do know yer stuff-salute PT!

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