Wednesday, October 7, 2009

106. Pasta with Quick Tomato Sauce

Date Cooked: September 27, 2009
Page: 245
Rating: B

I have really begun to think more about the processed food that we buy and while I am not against pre-packaged food for convenience I do find myself frequently asking whether or not I could make it at home. The answer is usually a resounding YES followed by lots of cursing and frustration and questioning of why I didn’t just buy that damn package of frozen food.

While my attempt at hummus is what started me on this journey and actually got me thinking more about the food I buy, it was an attempt to make homemade chicken strips (which I hope to post sometime soon) that made me look at the food in stores differently.

We had some fresh pasta that needed to be used and I figured I would make a quick pasta sauce to go with it. I have learned from both the Chicken Parmesan and the Spaghetti and Meatballs that a simple pasta sauce is easy to make and as good as any store bought pasta sauce. The sauce takes about as long to cook as the pasta does. While this is a quick plain tomato sauce you can easily add to this mix to make it really delicious.

I deviated from the recipe almost immediately but I was certain that the change would not really alter the results in any significant way… I’m quite certain based on some of my exploits that I should refrain from allowing these kinds of ideas from taking hold. Since we were also going to be having some sausage I cooked them first and then used the grease from the sausage to sautee the garlic instead of starting with fresh oil. No need to dirty another pan right? I’m sure all you dish cleaning haters out there can agree. Once the garlic was fragrant, then I added a canned of diced tomatoes to begin reducing them.

In previous ‘quick’ sauce recipes I would use crushed tomatoes so when I dumped in the can of diced tomatoes I was thinking this was going to be a little chunkier than I would like… or actually my wife indicated how displeased she would be if this was chunkier than she liked. I’m married so we like the same things  As the tomatoes reduced and broke down though they became a nice paste and I figured if they didn’t it was nothing the immersion blender couldn’t solve.

As the sauce approached its final minutes of cooking I added some fresh basil, a little sugar and some salt. I drained the pasta which had been cooking during this time, being careful to reserve some pasta water. A tip I picked up somewhere suggested putting the measuring cup in the colander so you don’t forget to take some water before dumping. It has stopped me from forgetting a few times already.

I put the drained pasta back into its warm pot and introduced it to the sauce along with the reserved water and some oil. The mixture was heated through for a few minutes and then plated to serve. Actually it was then plated to take a picture and then I mixed the cooked sausage into the pasta and served that.

Rating: B. It was simple and delicious. Nothing spectacular mind you but it definitely was no more difficult than using store bought pasta sauce, well actually it was a little more difficult but I think instead of keeping pasta sauces on hand I will start keep cans of diced and crushed tomatoes on hand. I also learned that my children love cheese… except for the cheese that we grated to garnish this. My oldest decided that it smelt like vomit. I believe it was either Swiss or Asiago. Don’t know because we just grated the small amount we had left in the fridge. That should instill confidence for those that visit to eat. I’m not always sure what I am feeding you.

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