PUBLISHED: 1:41 PM on Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Fresh Tomato Sauce With Beef and Sage-Rolled Figs

8 large tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for figs

1 pound round steak, cut into 1" cubes

1 cup chopped onion

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup Chianti, divided (may substitute beef broth for wine)

1/2 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

12 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Calimyrna or Mission Figs

24 fresh sage leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Hot cooked fettuccine or linguine

Grated Pecorino cheese

Dip tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minute; remove and place in bowl of ice water. Slip off skins and cut in half. Squeeze to remove seeds and chop tomatoes; set aside.

Heat oil in large pot; add beef. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup wine and broth to pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from heat and press meat with back of spoon to break apart. Simmer, uncovered, until most liquid has cooked off; stir in basil and oregano.

Preheat oven to 400?F. While sauce is cooking, cut stems off figs and cut in half. Simmer in remaining wine 2 minutes. Let stand until wine has been absorbed. Wrap each fig half in a sage leaf and secure with toothpick. Place in small baking dish with thin layer of olive oil and cook 4 to 5 minutes; remove toothpicks.

Spoon sauce over hot cooked pasta and top each serving with fig rolls. Serve with grated Pecorino cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Serve with: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti or Sangiovese-Merlot