I was trawling the old YouTube videos, trying to find something on The Dresden Dolls that I hadn't seen in ages, when I found THIS gem:
The video was created by Jenville Productions (Jenville3000 on YouTube) for the series Cooking With Rockstars, and I found the concept of this series very interesting - I, for one, would LOVE to know what my favourite band or singer loved to eat.
The series also includes interviews with Rufus Wainwright, Interpol, Jack Black, and Death Cab For Cutie, among a myriad of others.
What I really love about THIS particular video is that it gives fans a chance to see Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls up close and personal. He tells of where he learned this recipe (from his grandmother, who learned it from her parents in Italy), what inspired him to start cooking (too many instant ramen noodle dishes combined with wanting to bring people together after being away on tour), and we also get some live footage of a performance of one of my favourite songs, Girl Anachronism.
The recipe that Viglione demonstrates is a pasta sauce with a difference - it's not meaty, creamy or full of garlic, in fact it's rather sweet, with sugar, raisins and cinnamon making an appearance. I tried the recipe myself, but in my excitement to show you all this video I forgot to take photos :( Don't worry, I'm kicking myself right now.
Let me make it up to you by posting my version of this recipe. I switched some of the ingredients, mostly because I love to use as many fresh ingredients as possible, and gave more detailed instructions.
Viglione Family Sauce
Adapted from the video, "The Dresden Dolls on Cooking With Rock Stars"
Approximately 6 - 8 Roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
700g bottle passata sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated)
1 240g can of pitted black olives, drained
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, browned in olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1. Combine diced tomatoes, passata and tomato paste in a large cooking pot until hot, and tomato starts to break down. Meanwhile, brown the pine nuts in a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, stirring occasionally for about 3 - 5 minutes.
2. Add the olives and the raisins, and stir through. Add the pine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Stir and leave to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until flavours have combined and raisins are plump.
3. Add the basil and parsley and simmer for another 5 minutes. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper.
According to Viglione, this sauce can be used with your favourite pasta (I used fettuccine), over chicken or in a lasagna. The sweetness of the tomatoes is enhanced by the sugar and raisins, and complemented by the cinnamon. The olives add a complexity of flavour, making the taste much richer, and the basil and parsley lend freshness.
Also, to peel the tomatoes, cut a small 'x' in the end of each tomato, boil them for 30 seconds, and then place them in ice water until completely cold. Pull from where the 'x' has been marked. Skins should come off easy-peasy.
Below are two Dresden Dolls songs that I think are exceptional. Take a look!
Coin Operated Boy