|September 17, 2010||Posted by Cheeks under Main Course, Recipe|
|All the ingredients for an Italian feast|
Nothing inspiring or ground-breaking to report today, internet friends. But who doesn’t love spaghetti, or “pisgetti,” as I called it throughout my childhood. And this version here is especially uninspired, seeing as I didn’t even make my own sauce. The shame! Especially since I have a few recipes, and one great one my dad sent me, for marinara sauce that knock anything out of a jar right out of the ballpark. Really, even the most basic of sauces does. All you really need to do to make a quick pasta sauce is saute onions and garlic in some olive oil, then add a 28oz can of tomatoes (crushed or whole–just smash the whole ones a bit) and add your spices–oregano, basil, fennel seed, balsamic, and a bit of sugar are usually what I turn to. Simmer a bit and viola!
But, after getting home from the gym at 6:30, I didn’t feel much like doing anything other than boil water, so I turned to a jarred sauce I keep on hand for “emergencies” (Newman’s Own “sockarooni”) and fished a 1/2 lb bulk italian sausage out of the freezer. A large pot of salted water on the stove to boil, and a big baguette from D’Amatos bakery on the butcher block, and dinner was within 15 minutes….
|You want to eat this. So much more than the sum of its parts.|
Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.
No, I remembered that I needed to use up some of my FIL’s garden tomatoes, and that I had bought fresh basil the other day, so I created the “need” to have bruschetta in addition to the pasta feast. The most simple of appetizers, near-universally appealling and endlessly variable, bruschetta is one of my favorite things to make. Just chop up some tomatoes and basil, stir together with olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar, season with S&P and spoon over toasted bread. Take it a step further by rubbing a cut garlic clove over the bread slices after you toast them–you’ll get the big boldness of fresh garlic flavor without the sharpness of raw garlic chunks and lingering breath effects. It’s easy to throw together and gives A something to snack on while I’m cooking away (better than his habit of eating the ingredients I have chopped up waiting to join the main dish).
|Is there anything that a sprinkling of Parmesan can’t make better?|
The spaghetti itself is a simple affair, with a “trick” I learned from my own A, of all places. I grew up eating spaghetti by putting a pile of noodles on my plate, and then topping it with sauce. A, on the other hand, taught me to “fry” it all together. After you drain the noodles, return the big pot to the heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter. When it melts/heats, add the noodles back in with the sauce and let it all cook together. Italians are probably shaking their collective heads right now, wondering where this midwestern girl got the idea that she knew a trick by doing what they’ve been doing all along–finishing cooking the pasta in the sauce. Well, let me tell you, innovative or not, this is the way to go. The noodles soak up a lot of the sauce’s moisture and the extra butter/oil gives it a richness to boot…of course, when did a little extra fat ever make something taste worse!
Although you really don’t need it, I’ll put the recipe for bruschetta after the jump.
Classic Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
You can put anything on toasted bread–case in point, the sandwich. Or crostini. This is the most common version of a universal dish. Try adding white beans, different herbs, anchovies, olives, peppers, etc., subbing out ingredients, changing it up entirely. The bruschetta is your oyster.
1 large heirloom or beefsteak tomato, diced
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonade
8-10 slices baguette or small bread
1 garlic clove
fresh mozzerella (optional)
1. Toast bread slices in a toaster oven or under the broiler until golden. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut side over the toasted bread. Set bread slices on a plate until ready to serve.
2. Mix tomatoes and basil in a small bowl and add olive oil and balsamic to taste (I usually do about a tablespoon of each, but vary it to your liking). Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve tomato mixture with bread slices and sliced fresh mozzarella, if desired, spooning tomatoes and juices onto each slice.