Chef Dan Holzman may have made a name for himself slinging meatballs (and chicken balls and veggie balls) at The Meatball Shop, which he founded with his longtime friend Michael Chernow, but his repertoire extends far beyond (ahem) balls. Having grown up working in the restaurant industry from the tender age of 13, Holzman cut his teeth at fancy French restaurants like Le Bernardin and worked under the late great chef Jean-Louis Palladin.
His latest contribution seems simple, but it was four years in the making—bringing his signature tomato sauce to Whole Foods customers. That’s right, fans
of that savory, delicious sauce can now stockpile jars of it to have on hand at all times. Holzman insists, “I’m not gonna be, like, a sauce magnate,” but we think it’s pretty awesome news.
To celebrate, we asked him to create a meatball-free recipe to inspire home cooks to get creative with the sauce. He came up with a dish of braised Fleisher’s sausage in TMS tomato sauce with roasted endive and a gremolata of lemon, parsley, walnuts, and raisins.
“I would always advise people to make their own sauce from scratch at home because that’s what I do, but not everybody has time to make sauce at home.” Whether you make the sauce or buy it, this easy recipe is worth trying out.
Braised sweet Italian sausage in Meatball Shop tomato sauce with roasted endive, lemon, parsley, walnuts and raisins
5 Fleisher’s Sweet Italian Sausage Links (approx. 1 lb)
1 Jar TMS Tomato Sauce
4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Kosher Salt
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
¼ cup roughly chopped raisins
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Juice from one lemon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sear sausages in a sauté
pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides.
Slice the endives in half lengthwise and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sear endives in saute pan over medium-high heat allowing to lightly caramelize. Transfer endives and sausage into a baking dish and pour over tomato sauce. Cover and allow to braise for 15-20 minutes until endives are tender.
While sausage and endive are cooking combine the walnuts, raisins, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Remove baking dish from the oven and cut the sausages in half. Place endive halves in serving dish and spoon over tomato sauce and sausages. Garnish with walnut mixture and serve.
TMS Classic Tomato Sauce
Makes 7 cups
The key to this sauce is quality ingredients, especially in your tomato choice. We prefer to use Pomi brand chopped tomatoes (the ones that come in the box) which are a bit more expensive, but well worth the extra cost.
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
Two 26-ounce Pomi chopped tomatoes or two 28-ounce
cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for one hour, stirring about every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaf before serving.