Maria and Frederico Vaccaro have a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden. Their produce includes tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin, cucumber, potatoes onions, pears, apples, peaches, nectarines, figs, lemons, olives, walnuts and almonds.
The Vaccaros bake their own bread in a home-made, wood-fired oven. They also make their own wine, and pickle and preserve their own fruit and vegetables.
Maria and Fred showed Geoff Jansz how to make sugo, fresh pasta and an authentic Italian pasta sauce.
Maria and Fred’s Sugo Recipe
- 2 kg ripe tomatoes, cored & squeezed to remove seeds
- 4-5 sterilised bottles/jars
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- Put tomatoes into a large pot, place the lid on and cook over high heat until boiling. You will start to see the tomatoes and water separating from each other.
- Remove from the heat, strain, then pass tomatoes through the mincing machine. Keep pushing the tomatoes through 2 or 3 times, until all you have left is bits of tomato skin that you throw away.
- Place 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves in each sterilised bottle. Fill bottles with the sugo sauce. Secure bottles with a cap to ensure a safe seal.
- Put the bottles into a large pot, placing tea towels around the bottom and sides to prevent the bottles from touching the sides and cracking. Cover bottles entirely with water, place the lid on, and bring back to the boil. Cook for an hour. Allow to cool.
- Store in a cool, dark place. (Note: the sauce gets better with age and will keep for 4-5 years.)
Maria and Fred’s Pasta Dough Recipe
- 8 eggs
- 800g unbleached baker’s flour
- small amount of water
- Crack 8 eggs into a bowl, then break up eggs using your hands or a wooden spoon. Add in a handful of flour, working that in gradually with one hand, then continue adding more flour until you get a roughly loose dough. Towards the end of mixing the dough, add little splashes of water until you get a dough consistency.
- Onto a floured surface, start kneading the dough. This will take a good 10 minutes or so until that wonderful silky texture is reached.
- Cut the dough into 3 or 4 sections, with your hand flatten them slightly into a pikelet shape. Pass through the rolling machine at the thickest setting. Then pass the pieces through the machine again, this time on setting number 4.
- Adjust the setting on your pasta machine to make your desired pasta shape (we made fettuccine in our segment), and put the dough through.
- Lift the pasta directly from the cutter onto a broomstick to dry. If you are going to use the pasta straight away, the pasta doesn’t have stay on the broomstick for long, however if you leave it, it will dry and you can keep it for months.
- Cook fresh pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, until al dente.
Maria & Fred’s Pasta Sauce Recipe using Sugo
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 3 cups sugo
- fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- pinch dried Greek oregano
- pinch salt
- Cook the onions in the olive oil. Once the onions have cooked for about 2 or 3 minutes, but before they go brown, tip in about 2/3 of a bottle of sugo. (Tip: if the sugo is a little bit thick, you can add about 1/2 cup water to get the desired consistency.) Stir a few times, place the lid on and let the sauce cook for 1/2 hour before adding basil and seasonings.
- After 30 minutes add the fresh basil, a pinch of dried oregano and some salt to taste. The sauce is now ready to serve.