Saturday, March 21, 2020
Here's a Little Gem for Self-Imposed Shut-Ins.
This social distancing/self-isolating thing is going to get tiresome if it's not already.
If you're like me you may wonder how long you can live out of your pantry. The problem there is that you wind up looking at what's actually in your pantry. That can give you an immediate case of the "glums."
Tinned goods - oh aren't they appealing. Flour, yeast, sugar - the mind practically reels with excitement. Pasta of so many descriptions and shapes.
But there may be some hidden gems that you're overlooking. I discovered one last night, Marcella Hazan's recipe for pasta sauce. It's the ultimate in simplicity and, when it comes to Italian food, simplicity is often the key to really good dishes.
1 28 oz. tin of San Marzano tomatoes (roma tomatoes will do if that's what you've got)
Butter - 4 tablespoons
1 onion, peeled and cut in half.
Salt to taste.
That's it, just four ingredients.
You put the tomatoes in a pot, juices included. Break them up with a fork or potato masher. Position the onions, sliced side down, in the bottom of the pot. Add the butter in chunks.
Heat the tomatoes almost to boiling then turn down the heat to simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook your pasta of choice, just past al dente. Drain.
Remove the onions. Mix the tomato sauce in with the pasta, add parm, perhaps a bit of basil or parsely.
My expectations weren't high, despite all the rave reviews of this recipe. I was very surprised. It must be the butter. It creates a pleasantly rich tomato sauce that somehow filled the penne to capacity. It was delightful.
As I don't feed a horde I've got plenty of pasta sauce left over. I'll fiddle with it tonight and see if it will double as a pizza sauce.
There you go. Utter simplicity. Perishables - one onion, a bit of fresh herb, and a slab of butter. Shelf-stable - pasta, tinned tomatoes, cheese.
BTW - the onion you used to lightly season the sauce? Don't throw it out. It's also delicious all on its own.